With the snip of a giant ribbon Thursday morning, the Ringling Museum both unveiled the newly restored reflecting pool in front of the Ca’ d’Zan mansion and paid an emotional farewell to Ron McCarty, the 38-year employee who has overseen decades of restoration efforts at John and Mable Ringling’s fantastical Venetian Gothic mansion.
McCarty, who will be retiring Aug. 31, has been Keeper of the Ca’ d’Zan for 20 years; for 18 years before that, he was a museum registrar deeply involved in conservation efforts at the state-owned museum complex.
Speakers at the dedication—including Betsie Bolger Mott, representing the Bolger family Foundation, which funded the reflecting pool restoration in McCarty’s honor—praised the retiring curator’s leadership, stewardship, institutional memory and “magic touch,” as Bolger Mott put it, in keeping John and Mable Ringling’s legacy alive.
In the audience at the event was Harriet Burns Stieff, whose father, Owen Burns, built the Ca’ d’Zan in the 1920s for the Ringlings.
The reflecting pool restoration project is part of The Ringling’s $100 million Ringling Inspires capital and endowment campaign, which also has yielded the new Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion, the Center for Asian Art the Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art and other restoration efforts at the Ca’ d’Zan. Two other major projects that also are part of the campaign were funded by the Bolger Foundation: the David F. Bolger Campiello and Bolger Promenade and the David F. Bolger Playspace.