The Art & History Museums – Maitland (A&H) is obviously a wonderful place to go if you are seeking to add some culture to your day. It also serves as a very interactive place where people of the community, and visitors from out of town, gather for fun experiences and activities. The center really does a wonderful job of combining the best of both art and history. This isn’t just bragging, either. There are only 44 National Historic Landmarks in Florida, and in October 2014, A&H’s Maitland Art Center earned the honorable distinction of becoming one of them. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. Outside of the historical significance and amazing artwork on display – my recent visit to the MAC (Maithland Art Center) revealed 9 things you may have never thought you could actually do here.
Look…but also…touch! There are incredible hands on art classes for children, teens and adults where everyone is encouraged to participate. There’s no stuffiness here. It is a living and breathing place with artists in action. Check out the the Telephone Museum. This interesting exhibit displays telephone technology through the years, and tells the story of the Winter Park Telephone Company. A large sign on one of the interactive exibits encourages you to “Please Touch!”
Celebrate your child’s birthday! What a unique idea, and a great way to create memories for child and guests! Your child’s party will include art activities along with some things you will not get anyplace else, such as a guided tour of the Maitland Art Center grounds and gallery, and a half hour of birthday rental time in A&H’s Germaine Marvel Building.
Drop in on an artist at work! Really! The MAC has a great program called Artists-in-Action. Inspired by founder Andre Smith’s Research Studio, this program offers studio space for artists to practice and research their craft. This means you can make an appointment (or perhaps just walk in!) one of the studio spaces, and interact with an artist actually working in this remarkable environment. During my tour we visited Dawn Rosendahl’s space. It appeared as if she had just stepped out, but some of her beautiful work in progress was just waiting for her to return at any moment!
Find Easter Eggs! Hidden messages and tributes, also know as Easter Eggs, can be discovered everywhere around the campus. Remember to watch at eye level and higher, but also, don’t forget to look down. It turns out founder André Smith and his assistant, Ralph Ponder, both put their initials in these beautiful stepping stones. Can you spot them?
Reflect. As you approach the main garden, you will find a reflection pond and fountain. Surrounded by all this splendor and beauty, you may just find a quiet moment to breathe and reflect.
The Chapel and Mayan Courtyard is a serene place for photo shoots and wedding ceremonies.
Enjoy a spot of tea! The Historic Waterhouse Residence is located here on the campus as well. You and your children are invited to come to this lovely setting for a special tea party to celebrate any birthday! This party comes complete with tea, a special hat-making activity, a guided tour of the Historic Waterhouse Residence, and birthday rental time in A&H’s Cottage at Lake Lily.
Travel through time! A Waterhouse Christmas Carol (held in conjunction with “What the Dickens”) is happening November 28, 2014 – January 11, 2015. This brand new Christmas exhibition is inspired by Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” The Waterhouse family’s version and feel of Christmas traditions of the Past, Present, and Future will be displayed in each of the three main rooms.
Have a glass of wine! Who would have thought a history and art museum would make such a great setting for ladies to spend some quality time together? Ladies Art Lounge offers the ladies to catch up with friends, get creative with art, and sip on a glass of wine. You may even get a chance to create an original 16″ x 20″ work of art.
See a ghost? From 1937-1959 André Smith, American architect and artist, resided at the Maitland Art Center and History Museum. The love he had for this structure is evident.
It would prove to be the last place on earth he would ever see. In 1959, he passed away on campus. People have reported viewing his ghost walking the grounds and sometimes in the artist studios. The artists especially, will say they feel a presence. It is said the smell of one of André Smith’s cigars will be in the air, even when nobody is smoking. Not so much a scary thing, the sightings leave most people with a feeling that André approves of the center carrying on his legacy. The ghost of Mrs. Waterhouse is said to have been seen at her house as well.
The next time you are in Maitland, stop in and see the wonderful people, art, and history of the Art and History Museums Maitland. They are located at 231 East Packwood Ave., Maitland, Florida 32751. Visit their website at ArtandHistory.org for complete details on current offerings!