What are the best Orlando museums?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Hameed Jasat

Morse Museum in Winter Park, Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando Museum of Art, Leu Gardens, Winter Park Historical Museum, Casa Feliz, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Zora Neale Hurston Museum and the Mennello Museum of Art are among the top museums here in Orlando.
 
The Morse Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of work from Louis Comfort Tiffany. Although Tiffany was most well-known for his stunning lead glass works (windows and lamps), his body of work also contains jewelry, pottery, and furniture. The Morse Museum is located in the heart of Winter Park which is about 18 miles north of The Peabody Orlando.
 
The Orange County Regional History Center is in downtown Orlando (about 12 miles north of The Peabody Orlando) and consists of permanent and rotating exhibits. Some of the permanent exhibits include “The First People,” a look at life in Florida pre-European settlement; “Destination Florida” a 100 years of tourism in central Florida prior to Disney; and “Courtroom B” the original 1927 courtroom where it is rumored that Ted Bundy’s arraignment occurred.
 
The Orlando Museum of Art features rotating exhibits of contemporary American art. A few of its featured exhibits are “Aztec-Zapotec II,” with late 15th, early 16th century, pre-European art and “Of Cloth & Culture II,” the ninth in a series of exhibits drawn from Norma Canelas and William D. Roth of African Art.
 
Leu Gardens is home to America’s third largest camellia collection and Florida’s largest formal Rose garden. There is also a butterfly garden and 2 acres of tropical stream garden. One insider tip: The first Monday of every month is free.
 
Winter Park Historical Museum was founded in 1974. What started as a small group of locals who wanted to save and showcase Winter Park’s history, has now turned into a non-profit organization with a museum. The exhibits rotate and all focus on Winter Park’s history.
 
The Zora Neale Hurston Museum is in Eatonville, which is just north of downtown Orlando. It opened in 1990 and the museum focuses on showcasing the work of artists who are of African descent. The exhibits rotate and each exhibit begins in September and ends in August.
 
Casa Feliz is a beautifully restored Spanish Farmhouse in Winter Park that was designed by the acclaimed architect James Gamble Roger II. In 2001 Casa Feliz was moved 300 yards to avoided being demolished and in 2004 was fully restored. 

Susan Barnes

Museums in Orlando actually exist outside of It’s a Small World. In fact, the central Florida city has a surprisingly vibrant arts scene.

Since it opened in 1998, the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art has featured a diverse collection of paintings and sculptures, including an extensive permanent collection of paintings by Earl Cunningham (1893-1977).

Overlooking Lake Virginia on the country club-like campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum showcases temporary exhibitions, as well as a permanent collection with works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Alex Katz and Albert Bierstadt.

For more than 50 years, the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, also in Winter Park, has housed more than 200 works by Polasek. Splitting time between the gardens and museum makes for a leisurely Orlando afternoon.

Discover the world’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany art at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum on Park Avenue in Winter Park. The museum exhibits include spectacular lamps, just as you would imagine, and the chapel interior that Morse designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

For a more hands-on experience, the Orlando Science Center keeps you guessing with hundreds of exhibits, programs and labs. Your kids won’t mind learning at this museum - in fact, they may not even realize they’re learning.

And no art buff should skip out on the Orlando Museum of Art. The community-based, community-supported museum features an eclectic collection spanning the Americas and Africa, with more than 90 years of serving its community under its belt.

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