The Morse Museum surprises around every corner

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By Lisa K. Berton

Ocean blues, rosy reds, sunny yellows, and soothing greens light up the room. The large colored leaded glass windows hang inside the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida. These are just a sample of the many works of art by Louis Comfort Tiffany found in the museum. Well-known for the much sought-after Tiffany lamps, the multifaceted artist may surprise even the most devoted of fans.

An hour or two at the Morse Museum will inspire you to take an art class or perhaps finish that project you put aside. The layout is like a labyrinth with many corners to turn, leading to the next treasure.

Begin your tour with one or both of the films playing on a loop beside the lobby. Here you'll learn about the museum's namesake and his involvement with the Winter Park community. The family biography explains how the many Tiffany pieces were acquired. As you walk through the museum, you'll certainly have a greater appreciation for all of the research, labor, and transportation required, especially for the Tiffany Chapel.

Galleries I thru IX (one - nine) include education on Tiffany stained glass creation and repair along with antique pottery, suspended intricate jewelry pieces, and stained glass by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Take a look at dazzling iridescent decorative art pieces from various angles by Americans and Europeans. Their rich hues and varying vase shapes are eye-catching. Pictured below is Peacock at the Fountain, a pressed glass fruit bowl created in 1910.

Stained glass project and tools on table
A look at the tools required for stained glass making
Iridescent metal bowl featuring a peacock
Fruit bowl by Harry Northwood and Co
Stained glass lamp shade with dragonfly
Award winning leaded glass lampshade, Dragonfly and Water by Clara Driscoll

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On the opposite side of the lobby are Galleries X thru XV (ten-fifteen). They showcase more than a dozen Tiffany table lamps, hanging lights, and a mix of Tiffany Studios productions. Select furniture pieces from the Arts and Crafts movement are on display, along with paintings.

Above all, the Museum exhibits a large assortment of vases made from a variety of materials.

Head to the Daffodil Terrace for sunshine, seating, and Carrara marble columns. The Terrace, with its iridized glass skylight, is directly from Tiffany's home in New York. Wander into his dining room, living room, and study galleries.

This newer section of the Morse Museum delivers insight into Tiffany's like and work history, beyond the art itself. Sit in a comfortable oversized leather chair and flip through books. These rooms are of great interest to anyone who loves a good biography some to life.

We found the security guards to be quite friendly and eager to chat with patrons.

Find presents for yourself, friends, and family in the gift shop filled with books, reproduction notecards, and dainty delights. Choose from among jewelry styles, bowties, nightlights, umbrellas, scarves, and more.

The Morse Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Check their schedule for holiday closings. Free parking is available in the Museum lot.  

Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors over 60, and free for kids 12 and younger. Free admission on Fridays after 4 pm running from November through April. Admission is free during the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival.

Open room with columns and large windows
Relax in the Daffodil Terrace
Tiffany stained glass lamps
Collection of Tiffany lamps
Figurine of kids and a teacher made from plaster
The Favorite Scholar by John Rogers