Named the best museum in Orlando by Cityvoters in 2008, Cornell Fine Arts Museum awakens retinas with a vast collection of more than 5,000 artworks. Patrons can meander through this elegant facility overlooking picturesque Lake Virginia, checking out a multifarious slew of permanent and travelling exhibitions, which feature chromatic canvases ranging from the early Renaissance to the modern day. The complimentary Corps Exquis catalogue is a bound anthology of famous etchings, mixed media, poems, and drawings by artists such as Paul Cezanne and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Bring home a copy to inspire burgeoning brush buffs or keep uncultured coffee tables company.
When they enter Titanic The Experience, visitors receive a replica boarding pass. From there, they relive the ship's history from a passenger's perspective, from life onboard during its 1912 maiden voyage through to the crash. The exhibit closes with updates on modern efforts to recover its wreckage, which the museum is thoroughly part of?it's myriad artifacts were found by a team that performed seven deep-sea expeditions.
Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) sprouted from humble roots. In the early 1920s, a small group of artists met informally to display and critique their pieces. They couldn't have known at the time, but those initial gatherings laid the groundwork for one of the most revered art museums in the United States. Today, the OMA is one of the select few American museums with national accredited status, and it has been showcased across the country by the likes of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other esteemed publications.
Every year, the museum presents around a dozen exhibitions onsite, as well as many more offsite. OMA pursues its goal of enriching Florida's culture by collecting, preserving, and interpreting significant pieces of art, which it brings in from places both near and far. Inside its walls, the OMA houses a number of collections, such as Contemporary American Graphics and American Art before 1945, a time when the art industry was inundated with paintings of Babe Ruth in his underwear. Even kids can reap the benefits of the museum's efforts, either through enrichment programs?which reach thousands of children annually?or by exploring the various interactive attractions.
Orange County Regional History Center showcases the area's past inside a building steeped in Orange County history: the 1927 Courthouse. Today, visitors can explore the grand courtroom where the murderous Ted Bundy was allegedly arraigned. Such recent events, however, barely scratch the surface of the 12,000 years worth of history encompassed within the center's permanent exhibitions. Spanning Native American and Spanish roots to the meteoric rise of Walt Disney World, the museum illustrates Orange County's vast lineage.
The building has five floors, four of which house permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions and materials for traveling exhibitions that highlight Florida history throughout the country. An Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum also plays host to programs for all ages, from lunchtime speaking engagements to educational programs designed to spark the imagination and satisfy curiosity. The Emporium offers one-of-a-kind gifts reflecting the cultural history of Central Florida including rare vintage photographs, quirky Florida souvenirs, and delicious Florida treats.
Historically, women artists have often struggled to find a space to express themselves in a field dominated by men. The Florida Museum for Women Artists works to change that by offering 7,300 square feet of facilities and galleries dedicated to promoting and showcasing women artists and their work. Three different galleries allow visitors to gaze upon a selection of contemporary art in exhibitions that rotate ever 10 weeks and include juried shows, selections from collections, and traveling exhibits. Previous and upcoming exhibitions include a variety of ceramic, sculptural, and painted works, along with photographs and textiles. Past shows have even included the innovative exhibit Witness to Creativity, which allowed viewers to watch live as artists created installations over the course of a week. The facility also includes a museum shop and café and also hosts fused-glass jewelry, wineglass painting, and mosaic classes.
Physically, celadon porcelain from the Ming and Qing Dynasties and a 13-foot skeleton of the giant ground sloth don’t have too much in common. But both explore how our world has evolved and how we perceive it—making both perfectly suited for display in the eclectic exhibits of the Museum of Arts & Sciences. The 100,000-square-foot museum—which perches on a 90-acre nature preserve—houses a planetarium alongside myriad exhibits that delve into art, history, and science.
The museum’s particularly impressive assembly of Cuban art draws visitors through 300 years of history with more than 200 rare maps, paintings, and ceramics. Nearby, the exhibit of Chinese art glimmers with gemstones, bronzes, and cloisonné. Visitors also peruse crafts made closer to home in the 4,000-square-foot gallery of American art, where portraits by Gilbert Stuart and landscapes by George Bonfield hang on walls, rather than on the traditional horse’s withers. In addition to its traditional art galleries, the Museum of Arts & Sciences also hosts more fragile objects inside the Helene B. Roberson Visible Storage Building, a 4,400-square-foot glass-fronted space designed to maintain exhibits in a climate-controlled state.
Younger museum-goers can gaze longingly at the 800 teddy bears on display in the Americana-focused Root Family Museum before heading to the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum to explore ever-changing, hands-on science exhibits. In addition to assembling and testing model racecars, whippersnappers strum the 16 laser beams of a laser harp and try the "Pull Yourself Up" exhibit. Daily shows in the planetarium continue scientific education by unlocking the night sky’s mysteries, such as why stars don’t go out when you blow on them.