The Morse Museum in Winter Park to Host Neon Night on April 12, 2024

Morse Museum Neon Night
Morse Museum

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, presents Neon Night, a one-night-only experience featuring the Orange Court Motor Lodge neon sign from the Museum’s collection illuminated in public for the first time in over thirty years.

The evening’s featured sign has a rich history in Orlando. The Orange Court Motor Lodge first opened as the Orange Court Hotel in 1924. With stylish interiors and the city’s first indoor swimming pool, the hotel was a popular resort destination for celebrities and Orlando locals alike.

The hotel changed ownership in the 1960s and was renamed the Orange Court Motor Lodge. It was also outfitted with a new neon sign featuring 115 incandescent bulbs and weighing close to 1,000 pounds. When the Orange Court Motor Lodge closed in 1990, Hugh F. McKean (1908–95), the Morse Museum’s first Director, stepped forward to save the sign from demolition.

The Morse Museum’s collection includes several neon signs from businesses and retailers in Central Florida. Neon signs reached peak popularity in the 1950s before they were replaced by more cost-effective colored lighting like LED. Over time, many neon signs were destroyed because they were too costly to maintain.

Today, there are few artists working in the original techniques that crafted signs like these. By collecting and conserving them, the Museum is helping to preserve an important art form along with local and design history.

The free event begins at 6pm with a “Color & Light” tour of the Morse galleries (available on a first-come, first-served basis). At 7pm, enjoy the lighting of this piece of architectural history outside of the Museum. The sign remains lighted until 9pm.

The Morse Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933). The Museum’s holdings also include American art pottery, late 19th- and early 20th-century American paintings, graphics, and history of design objects.

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