A visitor to Daytona Beach, Florida once remarked that if you are not there for Bike Week, Biketoberfest, Spring Break or the NASCAR races there is absolutely nothing to do in the Daytona Beach. I have been there for all of those events and they are fun, but fortunately the visitor was gravely mistaken.
Daytona Beach has an even greater concealed prize. It is the Museum of Arts and Sciences. In a city dominated by the visually imposing Daytona Speedway and the drive-on beaches, the Museum is squirreled away on 92 secluded acres on a quiet street less than two miles from the Speedway. Its unimposing low profile exterior gives no hint of the Museum’s breathtaking contents.
The Museum includes exhibits of African art, Chinese art, an imposing collection of 300 years of Cuban art given to the Museum in 1957 by Cuban President Fulgencio Batista before his downfall, a Coca-Cola exhibit gifted the Root family, one of the early bottlers of Coca-Cola, and the Kenneth Worcester Dow and Mary Mohan Dow Gallery of American Art. The Dows worked closely with Museum Executive Director Emeritus Gary R. Libby to acquire an astonishing gift of major works of American art. (You can read more about the Dows at https://bit.ly/2XfRVK7.)
The Dow gallery is my primary focus because it contains not only some great American art work but a number of very early American examples of great furniture. In fact it is probably the best collection of American antique furniture south of Williamsburg, Virginia.
I had planned to give a complete conducted tour of this Gallery, but there are just too many delicious treasures all in one place.
So for this trip I will concentrate on seventeenth and eighteenth century furniture from oldest to less so and leave the more modern examples from the nineteenth century for a later date. And even so, I will not get to all the really old stuff.
All photos are my own thanks to the kindness of the Museum.
Antique American Furniture Gallery:
On your next trip to Florida, don’t let this undiscovered treasure of Americana go unnoticed. The Museum of Arts and Sciences is located at 352 S. Nova Road, Daytona Beach, FL 32114; (386) 255-0285; http://www.moas.org/.
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