National Historic Landmark

A&H’s Maitland Art Center became a National Historic Landmark in 2014.

The Art & History Museums – Maitland (A&H) Maitland Art Center is the only National Historic Landmark in Central Florida’s four counties (Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake) and one of only 45 in the state of Florida.

The Research Studio (the original name of the A&H’s Maitland Art Center) was founded in 1937 by visionary artist and architect Jules André Smith, with the patronage of Mary Louise Curtis Bok, as a colony that provided a place for artists to live, experiment with new art forms and escape the demands of daily life. The Research Studio was a lively colony that hosted artists of national prominence, including Milton Avery, Ralston Crawford, Doris Lee and many others.

Smith’s legacy  continues today through annual residency and studio programs that attract artists from across the nation. The A&H spreads across two campuses that include gardens, diverse collections, ongoing exhibitions, educational programming and two sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places (the Maitland Art Center and the Victorian-era Waterhouse Residence Museum).

After a rigorous nomination and application process, and due in large part of the unique Aztec- and Mayan-influenced architecture, one of the only remaining examples of “Mayan Revival Architecture” in the Southeast, the A&H’s Maitland Art Center became a National Historic Landmark in 2014.

National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. There are currently more than 80,000 sites across the nation listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a mere 3% of those sites (just over 2,500) have earned the National Historic Landmark designation. Those located closest to the A&H’s Maitland Art Center include two in Brevard County (the Windover Archeological Site and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station) and two in Polk County (Bok Tower Gardens and the Florida Southern College Architectural District).

This national designation affords the A&H’s Maitland Art Center opportunities to seek more prestigious grants and gives the staff access to experts in the field of preservation and restoration. Learn more about the A&H’s Maitland Art Center’s rich history as an “Oasis for Creativity.”