Day Trip: The Morse Museum

(aside:  due to the nature of the collection of art, photography is not permitted at the museum…and as such, media here are reproductions)

Art is weird.

Not in a bad way, but, in general, art is an interesting case. We’re surrounded by it, it’s everywhere, but we don’t appreciate it usually. Art can be ugly, beautiful, necessary, wrong, or funny. It truly influences what we like and what we don’t like, but we never really notice it, when you think about it.  Have you ever looked at the edges of your silverware? Someone took the time to shape it and carve it. What about the inside of a boring McDonald’s? Yes, someone took the time to employ some design and art was included. But it’s so much part of our everyday, you never notice it.

Yet they have museums dedicated to it.  But you have to really turn on your awareness model, deep in your brain to grasp what it is you are looking at before you.  Art requires something from its audience. The viewer has to make up their mind to either like it or not and then figure out why they emotionally reacted the way they do.

That, in essence, is art.  Art is appreciating the creativity of another. And it’s weird that we put value on something we take for granted.

And, since you really do see it so much-do you want to go to a museum of it?

I have to start this column with such a conversation because I was lucky enough to discover what might be one of the gems of the area-the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, right here in the small burb of Orlando known as Winter Park. But as good as this gem is, I don’t think it is for everyone to take the time to visit, unless, of course-

–you like art.

And you are willing to open up your critical mind to it.

You may hear of this location referred to as the “Tiffany Museum.”  And, yes, it is that Tiffany that gives its name to the famed store in New York, “Tiffany’s and Co.”  The famed artist started selling his wares there with others and the store was opened. But if who did get down here in our neck-of-the-woods? The Morse family at Rollins college were fans and rabidly collected his works and, when the great Louis Comfort Tiffany passed away, they inherited even more.

TiffanyWindow1

Including a huge chunk of a church display and altar he created and most of the furniture and glass sculpture from his back porch.

Tiffany’s primary works were in stained glass and glassware. A very unique form of artwork that take more than the brush to create.   His choice of medium meant that he had to create items, furnace them for a period of time, and hope the end result was worthwhile. The process resulted in his needing a foundry and whole bunch of patience to see the finished products. He eventually assembled several furnaces and earned a living by creating his glasswares for many sources, including churches and wealthy mansions for the Long Island elite.

tiffany lamp

And the collection ended up here.

Good for us!

The museum is small and direct in presentation and massively well light, given the fact we’re dealing with objects meant for light to shine through. The price is small; a mere five dollars to see the collection. The displays are pressed together in smaller rooms and mixed with other displays to show the styles of art that influenced his works.  Everything is hand carved and fashioned and the sheer number is very appreciated.

But, as I started this column, it does require something from the audience—in other words, you have to like art museums. And, being this is a private collection, no children’s tables are present nor bits of humor to amuse the younger set. This place is strictly for adults.

That’s okay, in my humble opinion. Given so much in this area is built for the enjoyment for the younger population and families, sometimes, yes, the public might need a break from avoiding being mowed over by strollers. However, the sophistication of the presentation might also alienate those who might have never attended an art event or museum before in their hometowns.

If you think this is something you’d like to experience, it only takes about an hour and half to see the crux of the presentation. And, being that this is a private affair with a singular focus, this might not be good for someone who has never been to an art exhibition before, as mentioned. This is one of three art exhibits in the immediate area, the other two being the Orlando Art Museum (much better for kids) and the Mennello Museum of Folk Art. If seeing some of the more cultured exhibitions is on your list, I recommend those two-especially the Orlando Art Museum-if you have children. It’s located by the Science Museum and has more kid oriented activities skittered about the spaces.

However, if jewelry, windows, and décor are something you might enjoy, think of renting a car from the parks and seeing a side of Orlando not many know exist. This little museum is low cost and situated in a quaint downtown area with ritzy restaurants, choice shoppes, and chic boutiques.  I know I had fun.  And, should the items rotate, I’ll most likely go back.

For more information about the museum or to get tickets please visit the Morse Museum website!

is an author, blogger, and journalist based out of Eustis, Florida. He's been reporting on entertainment since 1992, when someone showed him that others will read his work. While he's still composing his Great American Novel, he bides his time with his partner, his corgis, his writing, many movies and many park hopping trips. Peace!

About Author

Joe Triggs-Smith

is an author, blogger, and journalist based out of Eustis, Florida. He's been reporting on entertainment since 1992, when someone showed him that others will read his work. While he's still composing his Great American Novel, he bides his time with his partner, his corgis, his writing, many movies and many park hopping trips. Peace!