The Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, FL, contains the most comprehensive collection of the works by Louis Comfort Tiffany including his heralded lamps, signature leaded-glass windows, and mosaic masterpiece. Also included is the chapel he designed for the 1893 world's fair in Chicago.
The Morse's Park Avenue galleries opened on July 4, 1995. They were developed from former bank and office buildings. The redesign linked two buildings with a tower in a simple modified Mediterranean style meant to blend with the surrounding cityscape. Today, after an additional expansion to install the Tiffany Chapel from the 1893 Chicago world's fair, the Museum has more than 11,000 square feet of exhibition space - nearly three times the gallery space in its former location on Welbourne Avenue.
Jeannette Genius McKean founded the Museum formerly known as the Morse Gallery of Art on the Rollins College campus in 1942. The Museum was relocated to Welbourne Avenue in 1977, and its name was changed to The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.
Since its opening 10 years ago on Park Avenue, the Museum has worked to strengthen both the aesthetic and scholarly quality of the exhibitions it mounts from the collection that the McKeans assembled over a 50-year period.
Free Friday Evenings
Every Friday Evening, starting at the beginning of November until the end of April, the Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park remains open later and is free to visitors in the evening.
Tiffany's Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall, with almost 100 objects from the Tiffany mansion - including leaded-glass windows, blown glass and pottery and historical photos and architectural plans. The museum also has a distinguished collection of American Art Pottery and a representative collection of late 19th and early 20th-century American painting and decorative art.
Tiffany's Daffodil Terrace
The expansion features the fully restored Daffodil Terrace from Tiffany's celebrated Long Island home, Laurelton Hall and approximately 250 art and architectural objects from or relate to the long-lost estate. Highlights include prize winning leaded-glass windows and iconic Tiffany lamps as well as art glass and custom furnishings.
Free Public Events at the Museum
- Christmas in the Park
- Christmas Eve Open House
- Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival - The Museum is open to the public during the Festival.
- Easter Weekend Open House - The Museum is open to the public, Friday thru Sunday, Easter Weekend.
- Independence Day Open House - The Museum is open on Independence Day in conjunction with the City of Winter Park's Old Fashioned July 4th Celebration in Central Park.
Free Admission on Christmas Eve
On December 24, the Morse invites the public to the museum's galleries to enjoy at no charge, works that include Louis Comfort Tiffany's century-old, leaded-glass windows and his celebrated 1893 chapel.
As is traditional, the "Christmas Eve" window will be the focal point of this annual outdoor exhibit. This window, designed by Thomas Nast Jr., son of the famous political cartoonist, was produced around 1902 by Tiffany Studios, will be on exhibit at the Morse following Christmas in the Park.
Eight leaded-glass windows, selected from the Morse's world-renowned Tiffany collection, will set the stage for the free outdoor concert of seasonal favorites by the 150-voice Bach Festival Choir, one of America's premier oratorio ensembles.
Seven of the windows are memorials with religious themes that were produced by Tiffany Studios for the chapel constructed in 1908 for the Association for the Relief of Respectable Aged Indigent Females in New York. When the residence was threatened with demolition in 1974, Hugh and Jeannette McKean, the couple who assembled the Morse collection – bought its Tiffany chapel windows at the request of the Association board. The Association residence is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
The two-hour program begins at 6:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of December when the signal will be given to turn on the window lights. The rain date will be the following night, at the same time.
The Byzantine-inspired chapel, a mosaic and glass masterpiece designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, established Tiffany's reputation internationally and is one of the artist's last surviving interiors. The chapel opened at the Morse in 1999. During the holidays only, the museum also exhibits the 1902 Tiffany window, "Christmas Eve," designed by the famous cartoonist Thomas Nast.
The Winter Park museum holds an open house for the public each Christmas Eve to provide a peaceful respite from the busy holiday season.