Take a Local Museum Tour: Your Brain will Thank You!

Want to do something good for your brain? Pick yourself up off the couch and head straight to a museum. You”ll be surprised to find there is more than one brain healthy reason to indulge in a museum experience.

Boosts Intellect

At the outset, museums make you smarter. Walk into any exhibit archive and you will find an area of study, an item or time period that can send your head spinning with new knowledge. For the truly curious, museums can spark a new interest or help broaden one’s horizons. Learn about your local community, the biosphere, metallurgy or a different historical time. The choices are endless both locally and nationally. So whether it’s the The UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell or the Center for Puppetry Arts in Georgia you’re guaranteed a fun time while you explore your interests and discover new adventures.

Makes You Happier

Did you know people are happier when they spend money on experiences as opposed to material purchases? This is because experiences are far more powerful in creating memories, shaping our lives and boosting our happiness than is any commercial, material good. Going to the Smithsonian with your children to see the largest diamond in North America or Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz create irreplaceable memories. And good memories bring us joy.

Increases Social Engagement

Museums enhance social engagement. Visit a museum with others and discuss and enjoy the experience together. Moreover,  what you learn will fuel your discussions at social gatherings. Knowing interesting facts about other cultures, history, scientific innovations, art etc., makes your a more interesting person to converse with.

Encourages Lifelong Learning

Finally, museums inspire! They often offer classes, lectures and special exhibits. If you want to find a new interest or start a new hobby, museums are an invaluable resource.  So remember, brain healthy people are lifelong learners. So why not take a tour of one of our local treasures, right here in Central Florida. No more excuses. There is a museum near you.

Click on the links below for updated information on location, fees, hours of operation and special exhibits.

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

Explore the inspired world of internationally acclaimed Czech sculptor Albin Polasek. Tour his Mediterranean-style home, galleries and lush sculpture gardens home to many beautiful native Florida and subtropical species. Located in the heart of Winter Park on Lake Osceola, the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens holds an art collection focusing primarily on American representational sculpture.

Central Florida Railroad Museum

Put on your conductor’s hat and take a tour of the historic Central Florida Railroad Museum. Located in downtown Winter Garden, the museum is in the old Tavares and Gulf Rail Company building. It chronicles the history of the two main railroads that ran through Winter Garden, the Tavares and Gulf Rail Company and The Atlantic Coast Line. It also houses a large display of authentic railroad items.

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933). The collection includes the artist and designer’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows. View his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and art and architectural objects from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall. Holdings also include American art pottery, late 19th-and early 20th-century American painting, graphics, and decorative art.

Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Located on the Winter Park campus of Rollins College, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum is the only teaching museum in the greater Orlando area. Its permanent collection of European and American Art is extensive. Objects on show range from antiquity through contemporary times and include rare old master paintings and collections of prints, drawings and photographs. You can also expect to see temporary exhibits displayed along with the permanent exhibit. Works are on view at the Museum and nearby at the Alfond Inn. Both locations offer free admission.

Harry P Leu Gardens

Explore an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. Each garden specifically inspires visitors to appreciate and understand plants. The Harry P. Leu Gardens and historical home were donated to the City of Orlando in 1961 by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane.

Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Central Florida

The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice with the ultimate goal of developing a moral and just community through its extensive outreach of educational and cultural programs. Using the lessons of the Holocaust as a tool, the Center teaches the principles of good citizenship to thousands of people of all ages, religions and backgrounds each year. The Center is one of the oldest facilities of its kind in the nation. It houses permanent and temporary exhibit space, archives, and a research library.

Kissimmee Air Museum

Visitors can experience aviation first hand as they interact with the planes, pilots and projects of the Kissimmee Air Museum. The museum has aircraft displays, educational exhibits, aircraft restoration of vintage aircraft in progress and exciting training flights in WWII fighter-trainers through Warbird Adventures. You will see, touch, and smell the history of these great machines and begin to understand the sacrifices of the men and women who valiantly served to protect the freedoms we hold dear today.

Maitland Art Center

The Maitland Art Center was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect, André Smith (1880-1959). His legacy continues with contemporary art exhibitions in the galleries, two residency programs for professional artists, art programming, and a strong curriculum of art instruction in an intimate atmosphere. The Art Center is one of the few surviving examples of “Mayan Revival” or fantasy architecture in the Southeast, and consequently named the first National Historic Landmark in the four-county area of Central Florida. The A&H’s Maitland Art Center offers an immersive and intimate experience. It encourages visitors to take a closer look at the artists and the artistic process.

Mennello Museum of American Art

The Mennello Museum of American Art endeavors to preserve, exhibit, and interpret an outstanding permanent collection of paintings by Earl Cunningham. Also, the Museum seeks to enrich the public through special exhibitions, publications, and programs that celebrate other outstanding traditional and contemporary American artists. To encourage family outings, the Mennello Museum hosts a Free Family Funday every second Sunday of the month. On this day, take advantage of the free admission, free miniature fine art project and free docent touring. Each Family Funday has a different theme based on the current exhibition. On these Sundays, the miniature fine art project and tours are available from 12-2:30 p.m.  The museum galleries stay open until 4:30 p.m. for all guests.

Museum of Military History

The Museum of Military History is an exhibit of your heritage. It offers an historical glimpse into our military heritage, with heroic accounts of bravery and sacrifices from those who have fought to maintain our freedom. Exhibits include hundreds of genuine artifacts, military relics, photographs and memorable accounts by former soldiers. It is important to point out that this is a museum only in the sense that military items are displayed here. The main goal is to pay tribute to those who served while preserving history and by reaching out to help educate our youth.

Museum of Seminole County History

This place puts a spotlight on Seminole County, the historical gateway to interior Central Florida via the St. John’s River. The area has gone through periods of great importance militarily and as the area’s transportation hub. The Museum of Seminole County History contains 23 rooms in 3 buildings devoted to preserving the county’s history by exhibiting maps, documents, artifacts, furnishings, photographs and special events – all of which tell the stories of Seminole County’s inhabitants, their lives, lineages and local legends. A research library is available.

Orlando Fire Museum

This two-story, red brick firehouse was the original Fire Station 3, built in 1926. The building now showcases the rich history of the Orlando Fire Department from its inception in 1885 to present day. The Orlando Fire Museum is a hidden gem located at 814 East Rollins Street, Orlando, FL 32803.

Orlando Museum of Art

The mission of the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) is to inspire creativity, passion and intellectual curiosity by connecting people with art and new ideas. OMA presents a rotating series of temporary exhibitions originated by the museum matched by travelling shows that are complemented by permanent collection exhibitions and continuous education programs for people of all ages. Moreover, OMA hosts year-round workshops, art appreciation classes, lectures, seminars, films and guided tours for children and adults.

Orlando Science Center

The Orlando Science Center (OSC) is Central Florida’s award-winning, hands-on science museum. For more than 60 years, OSC’s exhibits and programming have brought science to life for not just residents of Central Florida, but also visitors from around the world. With four floors of interactive exhibit halls, labs and workshops, theaters, an observatory, and experiences that change with the seasons, there is always something exciting for our 670,000 annual visitors to see and do at Orlando Science Center. Call 407.614.2000 or 1.888.OSC.4FUN for tickets and hours of operation.

Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek

The Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek is comprised of a permanent collection of authentic structures which once upon a time stood in different areas of Osceola County. They were carefully relocated to our present location and gently preserved to demonstrate how life was once lived before our modern times. Come walk the grounds and stroll through history at the Pioneer Village!

SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology

SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology celebrates vertebrate life by providing guests with an engaging adventure full of discovery. The hope is that through education, a cultivated appreciation of the natural world leads to conservation for the future.

Wells’ Built Museum of African American History

The Wells’ Built Hotel has been converted into a museum housing memorabilia of Orlando’s African-American community and displays on the Civil Rights movement along with some African art and artifacts. This historic museum is located in the center of Orlando’s historic Parramore district at 511 West South Street. Dr. William Monroe Wells built the hotel and a nearby entertainment venue for African Americans visiting Orlando. During the Segregation era, this hotel served as host to several now famous African American performers. On February 4, 2000, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Winter Garden Heritage Museum

The Winter Garden Heritage Museum is dedicated to preserving the heritage that gives Winter Garden its small town charm. Founded in 1998, it safeguards and displays Winter Garden’s past in architecture and inventions. Unique displays include items that highlight the citrus industry, railroad memorabilia, community history and photographs.

Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts

A very small building, the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, has a big mission. For 26 years, it has provided gallery space for artists of African descent, right in the heart of the community of Eatonville. The Museum is the only place within 400 miles to showcase artists’ work from the continent and Diaspora. The Hurston Museum is the most significant place for peoples exclusively of African American descent to display their works.

Article content was adapted from linked museum websites.