The Maitland Art Center is the repository of a number of significant collections, including the largest and most comprehensive group of artworks created by the Research Studio’s founder, André Smith (1880-1959). The Smith collection includes hundreds of paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture, as well as archival materials related to the artist’s activities during his lifetime. Also, the artists who lived and worked at the Research Studio during Smith’s tenure (called the “Bok Fellows” in honor of Smith’s great partner and patron Mary Louise Curtis Bok) are represented in the collection, including works by Milton Avery, Doris Lee, Ralston Crawford, and many more. Additionally, several collection areas were strengthened considerably by former director James G. Shepp during his nearly 30 years at the Maitland Art Center, including a number of referential works by blue chip artists (including Whistler, Cassatt, and many others) as well as a strong selection of works representing a virtual “who’s who” of Central Florida artists during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Also, the Maitland Art Center has founder Smith’s original book collection, containing many rare volumes and art folios.
Probably the most significant collection at the Maitland Art Center is the facility itself. The former Research Studio is covered by carved and cast concrete sculptures, all designed by André Smith. Many of these were actually hand-carved by Smith. These decorations, along with the buildings that make up the historic art colony, were imagined and executed from motifs drawn from the cultures of ancient Mesoamerica, including the Maya and the Aztecs. Mixed with colonial, Christian, and in some cases even Asian iconography, this totally unique complex with its conjoined courtyards, gardens, and art studios may be the versatile Smith’s greatest creation.
The Maitland Historical Museum collection totals approximately 3,500 items, documenting the life of small town Florida, its businesses, developments, families, schools, churches and activities. The archives contain approximately 39 cubic feet of manuscripts and photographs, and a collection of 90 audiotapes and 25 videotapes. Of greatest value are older records including cemetery and early City records, voter registration information and family archives. The artifact collection contains more than 80 cubic feet of catalogued and stored historical items pertaining to the history of Maitland and Central Florida. Some examples of the collection include a copper and brass black powder flask found in 1935, handmade 19th century quilts, and Citrus industry tools.
The Waterhouse Residence Museum collection includes Victorian residential items, reflecting a middle class family lifestyle in nineteenth century Central Florida. The Waterhouse Residence Museum itself is on the National Register of Historic Places and remains one of theA&H’s most important pieces in the collection.
The Carpentry Shop Museum includes a collection of antique woodworking tools, as well as tools owned by Mr.Waterhouse, used to build many of Maitland early homes. Collection includes a nineteenth century portable woodworking bench, wood and metal planes, early scroll saw, and much more! In addition, the building itself is a unique and important historic resource.
The Telephone Museum collection includes telephones, equipment, and archives representing the story of the Galloway family who started telephone service in this area, and the Winter Park Telephone Company of 1913-1979. The collection includes a working switching station, PBX boards, line installation tools, military field equipment, and much more. This collection housed in the museum and storage is one of the most extensive in the Southeast.