Stop 1 (Main Garden Gate)

Main Garden
Main Garden Gate, ca. 1940

 Welcome to the Art & History Museums - Maitland. Our site is made up of five locations: The Maitland Art Center, The Maitland Historical Museum, The Telephone Museum, The Carpentry Shop Museum, and the historic Waterhouse Residence Museum.

 This app is brought to you by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council and will navigate you through the Maitland Art Center, historically known as the Research Studio. The Maitland Art Center is an outstanding example of Mayan Revival Art Deco architecture, completed under the guidance of architect and artist Jules André Smith, with the funding of his patron Mary Curtis Bok.

 The artwork was created on site by André and the resident artists and then installed, using the buildings and the landscape as their canvas. The site consists of a Studio complex and Gallery started in 1937 and a Chapel and Recreation Area located across Packwood Avenue. Smith continually added to the site over the next two decades, adding more sculptures, murals and reliefs until his death here in 1959. In 1969, the City of Maitland and a group of concerning citizens saved the Research Studio from demolition.

 The National Park Service recognized this unique artists' retreat as a National Historic Landmark, the only one in Orange County and the surrounding four counties. This prestigious list includes over 2500 sites across the country, such as the Hearst San Simeon Estate in California, the Empire State Building in New York, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, and the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida.

 Start your tour through this Mayan-inspired arched entryway, which leads to the main garden. Now be sure to keep your eyes open! Smith and his team of resident artists hand-made and installed hundreds of concrete sculptures in every corner of the complex, including hidden animals, initials, and symbols.

Main Garden
Main Garden Gate detail, ca. 1940
Campus birdseye drawing
Drawing of The Research Studio, ca. 1940