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…
Maitland Art Center
The A&H’s Maitland Art Center is the repository for 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.
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.
Maitland Historical Museum
The A&H’s 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
This 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 the A&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.
The A&H has a diverse collection of artworks, artifacts, archives and historic structures. Some of the most important pieces in the collection are the historic sites themselves, which create an immersive experience for visitors, artists and historians to explore the collections, exhibition and programs. The most significant of these is the A&H’s Maitland Art Center. Built in in the rare Mayan Revival Architecture and featuring over 200 hand-carved and painted sculptures, reliefs and murals. There is, quite literally, nothing like it in the world. It is a masterpiece envisioned by artist and architect, André Smith.
The A&H maintains its collections according to the principles set forth by the American Alliance of Museums focusing on standards of collection care and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties. Receiving the National Historic Landmark designation in 2014 has enabled the A&H to consult with some of the most experienced preservationists in the country to ensure the longevity of the collection.
André Smith’s History
Want to learn more about founder André Smith’s time in the U.S. Army, before he settled down in Maitland? His book, In France with the American Expeditionary Forces, is available in soft cover or hard cover or eBook here.