The new head librarian at The Ringling is a familiar face.
The Ringling welcomes back Elisa Hansen after her stint abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. Hansen previously served as the as the Director of Adult and Academic Programs and, later, as Acting Curator at The Ringling from 1989-1995. She has experience as an academic and school librarian, and has taught art history at several colleges.
Steven High, executive director, said,
The Ringling is delighted to bring back Elisa Hansen. She brings a wealth of experience and an amazing knowledge of the Museum to the position.
Hansen stated that her goals for heading up The Ringling Art Library include establishing working relationships with area institutions of higher learning to promote scholarship through the Library’s extensive collections, which include volumes of rare books dating back to the 16th century and a portion of John Ringling’s personal library. Hansen also wants to raise awareness of the library in the local community and promote a greater use of its many resources. Hansen said,
I would simply like to get more people into the library. We are a research library, but we have more to offer than people are aware of. Programs are open to the public and our staff is available to assist anyone who would like to use our collection.
Another area that Hansen hopes to work on is the development of the library’s collection. She would like to focus on areas of importance to The Ringling, such as the artists represented by works of art in the galleries, architecture, performing arts, architecture and the history of gardens. Hansen said,
I am a native of Sarasota, and my interest in the arts and art history started at The Ringling. I have known that I always wanted to return to The Ringling.
Hansen holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida. She additionally completed two-terms of post-graduate course work in research librarianship at the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen. Hansen completed her undergraduate degree in art history at Florida State University and received a Master’s degree in Art History from Southern Methodist University.
Hansen is fluent in Danish, which was her father’s native language. Exploring her family’s history and exposing her daughters to their heritage and history was a major motivation for her move to Denmark for more than a decade. She also has deep roots in the area. During Hansen’s childhood, her family owned Hansen Chris-Craft, a boat store, in downtown Sarasota.