Historic Artist’s Home & Studio
Founded in 1961, the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens holds an art collection focusing primarily on American representational sculpture, with over 200 works by Czech-born American sculptor Albin Polasek.
The museum offers guided tours of the historic Polasek residence and chapel, an outdoor sculpture garden, a gallery with rotating exhibits and a gift shop. The museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of only 34 members of the National Trust’s Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios.
Born in the province of Moravia (now Czech Republic), Albin Polasek immigrated to this country as a young woodcarver in 1901. He later attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the American Academy of Art in Rome. During his influential artistic and educational career, Polasek won many awards for his works and was commissioned to create numerous public sculptures now found throughout Europe and America. Polasek dedicated his life to encouraging the study, appreciation and furtherance of representational art.
“The emotional, spiritual side of a person needs development and preservation and constant refreshment and recreation, just as the body does.”
Albin Polasek retired to Winter Park, Florida in 1950 after nearly thirty years as the head of the Department of Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. Albin Polasek designed his home with a functioning studio at its heart, surrounded by picturesque gardens. In 1961, The Albin Polasek Foundation was formed at the sculptor’s request, and his gallery was opened to the public as a museum.
Beginning in 1998, the museum’s trustees renewed their commitment to actively promote Albin Polasek’s legacy based on a coordinated, long-range improvement plan. In 2008 the museum was re-roofed and re-painted with privately generated funds. This ongoing plan focuses on renovating and expanding the museum, increasing public awareness of the museum and developing cultural and educational programs. As a result of these efforts the museum was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Albin Polasek was awarded the honor of Great Floridian 2000 and was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2008 the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens was added to the National Trust’s ‘Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios’ – an exclusive group with only 30 member organizations throughout the country, including the homes and studios of sculptors Daniel Chester French and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.