The Morse Museum’s recent expansion of its Tiffany collection is bringing visitors to more than just the museum. Officials said the whole Park Avenue district is experiencing a bit more traffic these days.
More than 30,000 people have visited the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art’s new $5 million wing since it opened on Feb. 19. Media outlets such as The New York Times, Newsday, the Washington Post and Architectural Digest have picked up the story.
“The news of the new wing is very exciting and has been long anticipated,” Morse Museum’s director of public affairs, Catherine Hinman, said. “It’s just been a very good story, but the evidence suggests that it’s not just been good for the museum, but good for Winter Park.”
Businesses in the Park Avenue area are reaping benefits, she said.
“It’s sort of a microcosm of what an art institute can do for a city economically,” Hinman said. “I think it’s part of the grand vision of the town.”
Winter Park’s director of economic development, Dori DeBord, said the city would like to see as many as 80,000 people come to the Park Avenue area in the next year.
“They (Morse Museum) are a huge anchor in bringing visitors to Park Avenue on that end,” DeBord said. “It’s great for what happens on the avenue.”
Park Avenue Area Association director Debra Hendrickson said she’s heard a lot of positive feedback from local businesses benefiting from the increase in visitors to the area since the museum expanded.
“I’ve heard some people talk about how their business has more than doubled,” Hendrickson said.
Park Avenue’s Down East Orvis owner Don Sexton agrees that the museum expansion has definitely had an effect on his business.
“It’s made a very positive influence on Park Avenue and certainly on my store,” Sexton said. “The growth is expanding very rapidly, considering it’s only been a couple of months since the expansion, and I think we can look forward to continuing to see more visitors.”
He also said he believes the expansion is great for bringing visitors back to the area.
“It’s always been a great museum, but now there’s a second reason to come back,” Sexton said. “So we have a lot going for us.”
Assistant Manager of Eileen Fisher and Park Avenue Association Vice President Kari Baumgardner said she’s also noticed more people visiting the area and hopes that everyone can continue to benefit from it.
“As an avenue and a shopping district, we really try to work together to let the customers know what’s going on down here and where they can enjoy themselves,” she said. “We sort of cross-pollinate that way.”
The Morse Museum’s 12,000-square-foot addition provides for the first time long-term public access to the recently restored Daffodil Terrace from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s celebrated Long Island home, Laurelton Hall. The new galleries also feature 250 art and architectural objects from or related to the destroyed estate.
The museum’s expansion is giving people a chance to experience not only the new exhibit, but all that the Park Avenue area has to offer.
“We’re very proud and honored to have Morse here,” DeBord said. “And we recognize it as being a big generator, not only from a cultural standpoint, but a generator of people coming to the avenue.”
For more information on the Morse Museum, visit www.morsemuseum.org