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Florida Guide > Other Florida

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

As a lover of anything Art Nouveau and in particular Tiffany Glass whenever I’m in Central Florida always high on my must do list is a visit to The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The museum, usually known simply as the Morse Museum, is situated on Park Avenue in the centre of Winter Park, an upmarket suburb of Orlando about 20 minutes north of the International Drive area.

The museum was founded in 1942 by Jeanette McHugh and her husband Hugh E McKean. It was named after Jeanette’s grandfather who was the head of Fairbanks, Morse & Co a company that developed and manufactured machinery that helped in the industrialization of America in the late 19th early 20th Century. At the end of his very successful career he retired to Winter Park and became a major benefactor of the town.

The museum houses a vast collection of over 4000 works of art and numerous historical documents within its 19 galleries including in gallery 16 a collection of paintings, pottery and furniture representing the American Arts and Crafts movement which was led by William Morris. However my main reason for visiting is that the museum is known the world over for its huge collection of works by the American artist Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The collection includes all aspects of Tiffany’s works from the mass produced leaded glass lamps, which were made in their thousands, to the unique windows made as exhibition pieces. One such exhibition piece on display is the Byzantine-Romanesque chapel interior that Tiffany created for the World’s Columbus Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The chapel is absolutely stunning and includes an amazing electrified chandelier in the shape of a cross.

I personally prefer some of the smaller windows and objects. Tiffany took a lot of his inspiration from nature with many of his pieces using flowers and insects in their designs. I particularly like the four season’s window and what must be one of his most famous designs the Dragonfly Lamp with its lovely lily pad base and beautiful stained glass shade.

If like me you sometimes want to slow the pace of your holiday down a little and have an interest in beautiful glass, furniture and pottery I would definitely recommend a visit to the Morse Museum. If you are travelling with young children it may not be the perfect choice but otherwise I would give it a go. There is a video show at the start of the tour depicting the history of the museum and an insight in to how a vast amount of the collection was acquired. There are lots of very knowledgeable guides throughout the museum to answer any questions you may have and there are guided tours available There is also a gift shop on the way out which sells the usual souvenirs, fridge magnets, postcards and bookmarks along side some wonderful if very expensive vases and decorative items.

Admission Adults $3, Student $1 and under 12’s free.
Opening hours 9.30am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday, 1-4pm Sunday

Additional Friday hours September–May 4-8pm
All visitors free Fridays 4pm-8pm September-May

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
44 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, Florida 32789
Tel: (407) 645-5311

Morse Museum of American Art

Author: Steve and Julie Roach (Villa link: click here)
Other articles by this author: click here

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Page added on: 28 September 2004
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