One of the best things about culture in Central Florida is the world’s most comprehensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany items at a museum in Winter Park.
Yes, that Tiffany — as in, Tiffany lamps, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, etc.
There’s more than just lamps too. The museum is the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. It features many high-design items of decor, home furnishing, jewelry and architecture at 445 N. Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park. It’s worth a full day trip because it’s surrounded by one of the best and most exclusive shopping and dining districts in Florida, known as Park Avenue. There’s even a SunRail station a few blocks away to ride up from downtown Orlando or from as far north as DeBary.
A centerpiece of the museum includes elaborate reconstructions of Tiffany’s former estate in New York, which was an 84-room mansion that was eventually destroyed by fire in 1957 — more than 30 years after Tiffany’s death. Tiffany wasn’t appreciated as much then as he is today. A Winter Park couple, Hugh and Jeannette McKean (Morse’s daughter) rescued many items from the Long Island estate and moved them to Florida.
Walking into the recreated rooms of the mansion, called Laurelton Hall, is a rare experience. Rooms include the Daffodil Terrace — a large sitting area with ornate pergola and natural light — and Tiffany Chapel, a masterpiece of design that envelopes the visitor.
Unique items that catch the eye are everywhere, including a Tiffany Studios library lamp, c. 1901, with Wisteria design shade, or a necklace designed by Tiffany, with peacock and flamingo imagery, made with enamel, opal, amethyst, gold, etc.
The Museum’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Tuesday through Thursday; it has slightly longer hours on Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and shorter hours on Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Regular admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students, and free for children younger than age 12. For more informatioN: (407) 645-5311, or www.morsemuseum.org.