WINTER PARK- The Board of Trustees of the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation announced today that the Morse Museum has begun design development on a new wing in which to exhibit most of its holdings of objects and architectural elements from Louis Comfort Tiffany's Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall.
The expansion project would add about 10,000 square feet of interior space, including additional offices, to the museum's existing building and triple the size of the outside courtyard garden to 4,450 square feet.
"Tiffany meant Laurelton Hall to be his legacy," said Harold Ward, chairman and president of the Morse Foundation. "In creating a permanent installation for works from that magnificent estate, we believe we will contribute to the understanding and appreciation of Tiffany by the general public and provide an important resource for scholars. We are very pleased to be able to take this step toward sharing Tiffany's legacy with our community and with so many others who come to the Morse to learn more about this great American artist."
The museum estimates it will be able to break ground on the new wing as early as next winter, which would allow the addition to open to the public by the spring of 2010.
The Daffodil Terrace from Laurelton Hall, measuring 32-feet-long by 18-feet-wide, is to be an architectural focal point of the addition. The recently restored terrace, supported by eight marble columns topped with bouquets of glass daffodils, has never been on view in Winter Park.
The board has awarded the contract for designing the new wing to Rogers, Lovelock, and Fritz, Inc. (RLF), a nationally recognized architecture, engineering and interior design firm based in Winter Park. Ravensdale Planning & Design, also of Winter Park, will design the expanded courtyard garden and additional landscaping.
George Sexton Associates of Washington, D.C., will provide lighting and exhibition design for the expansion. Griswold Conservation Associates LLC of Beverly Hills, Calif., will oversee the erection of the Daffodil Terrace and other architectural elements. Steve Keller & Associates Inc. of Ormond Beach, Fla., is the museum's security consultant on the project.
Morse Museum Director Laurence J. Ruggiero is heading a curatorial advisory committee for the expansion, which includes museum staff as well as: Lewis Sharp, director of the Denver Art Museum and a Morse Foundation trustee; Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator, Department of Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Frelinghuysen was the curator of "Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall -- An Artist's Country Estate" (November 21, 2006-May 20, 2007), a major exhibition at the Metropolitan on which the Morse collaborated and was the primary lender. Wilson, widely known as the host of the cable television show America's Castles, was a contributor to the Laurelton Hall exhibition catalogue.
Laurelton Hall, built between 1902 and 1905 on Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, is often cited as Tiffany's greatest work of art. The 84-room mansion was destroyed by fire in 1957. Hugh McKean and his wife, Jeannette, who together built the Morse Museum's collection over a 50-year period, salvaged architectural elements, leaded-glass windows, and other objects from the ruins of the estate. The Morse, today home to the world's most comprehensive collection of works by Tiffany, is the largest single repository of surviving materials from Laurelton Hall.
The museum is owned and operated by the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation and receives additional support from the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation. It receives no public funds.