WINTER PARK – There’s music playing in the halls, ranging from Jazz to classical, as patrons get to enjoy a leisurely tour of the building.
The mood is meant to be soothing and relaxing, an oasis from the hectic day-to-day pace of the holiday season, when so many people are scrambling to complete their holiday shopping or ensure they have all the right ingredients for the big Christmas day meal, noted Catherine Hinman.
And if they need a break from all that running around, she said, then Friday night begins the calming festivities.
“This is a break from everything about shopping and cooking and all of that stuff that comes with the season,” said Hinman, the director of public affairs and publications at the place offering this peaceful and serene escape from it all: the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.
On Friday evenings, the museum at 445 N. Park Ave. in Winter Park is welcoming in patrons to not only admire its collection, but to also enjoy some music as well.
Welcome to Holidays at the Morse.
“We have our Friday night open houses, and our live music will go on through December 28,” she said. “We have six consecutive Friday nights where we have live music and curator tours of the museum. A lot of the music will be holidayish.”
And quite an eclectic mix of styles, she added.
“We’ve had a little bit of Jazz and a classical guitarist,” she said. “We had in a pianist and a harpist. They mix classics with beloved Christmas carols. It all makes for a festive mood.”
The performances, she added, are not designed to attract patrons who want to sit and listen to the music – although they’re welcome to do that if they want to, she added.
“We don’t bill this as a concert,” she said. “It’s to enhance the mood. A lot of people do like to sit and listen, though. It’s something to improve the experience at the museum.”
It’s also, she added, a terrific way to begin each weekend.
“It’s almost like the holiday weekend starts on that holiday night and continues through the weekend, and it will be very festive,” Hinman added.
Helping to set that mood, she added, is the popular “Christmas Eve” window. Designed by Thomas Nast Jr., son of the famous political cartoonist, it was produced around 1902 by Tiffany Studios and is on exhibit as part of the Morse Tiffany collection.
” ‘Christmas Eve’ is a wonderful Tiffany window that is all about Christmas,” Hinman said. “It was Thomas Nast Sr. who created the image of Santa, or Old Saint Nick, or Father Christmas, that we all know today. You’ve got this wonderful figure holding the Christ child, and it is constructed of fabulous Tiffany. It’s a wonderful example of what Tiffany is known for. It’s a lovely window.”
It’s also a strong draw at this time of year, she added.
“It’s a favorite of our guests,” she said. “It makes everybody happy.”
It also is a terrific example of what creative minds can accomplish, said art therapist and historian Geri Williams, who volunteers at the Morse Museum.
“The Tiffany is just so fantastic,” she said.
The Morse Museum is well known for its collection of the works of American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. That collection extends from Tiffany leaded-glass lamps to those unique windows, and includes the Byzantine-Romanesque chapel interior that Tiffany created for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
Exhibitions in the museum’s galleries are changed periodically to let the public see more of the permanent collection.
To learn more, call the museum at 407-645-5311 or visit Morse Museum.
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