If you haven't visited The Morse Museum in Winter Park yet, then you're in for a treat. I recently returned after not having been there since I was in high school, and I have to tell you, it took my breath away more than once. It's room after room of glass lamps, stained glass windows, ornate glittering jewelry, outdoor structures brought inside, and each item unique in form and color.
I took a walk through the galleries with Jennifer Thalheimer, curator and collection manager, and Betsy Peters, director of programs, and Catherine Hinman, director of public affairs. They choreographed a beautiful and awe-inspiring tour. I ended up trying to go rogue and wander off a couple of times, but they were able to rein me in.
Let me just break it down for you before you hit 'play.' The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), including his jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps, and windows. Most awe-inspiring is his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. (That's at 32:16 if you're looking for it.) There are also objects from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall.
Unique to the museum are cellphone audio tours. You can take a self-guided tour and listen in while you're there or dial in after you've left to relive your visit. You can access the tour via phone at (407) 618-0081, or you can visit morsemuseum.oncell.com and follow the prompts.
My photos of Tiffany's jewelry sketchbooks didn't make the cut due to the lighting. You really should go see this in person, anyhow. Oh! I forgot to mention that they turn the pages in his jewelry sketchbooks so each time you visit you'll see different designs. How clever!
Don't miss a visit to this jewel of a museum. Afterward, stroll across the street to Boca and talk about all you saw while dining on delicious farm-to-table delicacies.
Morse Museum of American Art
445 North Park Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30AM to 4PM and Sunday 1PM to 4PM, closed on Monday.
Coming up in NOVEMBER: From November through April, the Morse has extended hours on Friday nights with free admission from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and live music, tours and art demonstrations on Friday evenings during the holidays.