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The Polk Museum Of Art is an art museum located in Lakeland, Florida. The museum was founded in 1971 and is dedicated to the promotion of the arts. The Polk Museum Of Art is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors. The Museum of Art is actually more than an art museum as it has an extensive program of art education for all ages, varied exhibition schedule, exciting event schedule, and a research center. The Polk Museum Of Art has long-term exhibitions featuring the museum’s permanent collection while the temporary exhibitions are rotated on a regular basis and usually include touring exhibitions from other museums.

History of the Polk Museum Of Art

The museum was founded by the Junior Welfare League in 1966 as the Imperial Youth Museum. It was renamed to the Polk Public Museum to put emphasis on art, history, and science in 1969. The museum was expanded in 1970 when the board of trustees purchased a vacant lot, making the museum 4 times larger. After the expansion, a curriculum-based art education program for Polk County children was created by the museum staff and school board of Polk County. The current structure was designed by Ernie Straughn in 1988, and renamed to Polk Museum of Art.


The Material World: A Global Family Portrait

Created by American photojournalist Peter Menzel, The Material World: A Global Family Portrait is an exhibit that features 30 large-scale color photographs of families from all around the world with all their worldly possessions surrounding them. The exhibit was created to show the stark contrast between the way people live in different parts of the world and to remind us of our own materialism.

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

Created by photographers Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, this exhibit shows the difference in diets around the world. Pictures were taken of what a family eats over the course of a week in 21 different countries.

The Von Wagner Code

A rediscovered piece of art that inspired the Summer 2018 exhibitions at the Polk Museum of Art, The Von Wagner Code is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Discovered in 2016 on the Florida Southern College campus after being abandoned for more than 60 years, the artwork was once believed to be from the 17th century, but is now known to be a replica of the famous 19th-century masterwork “The Chariot Race” by the Hungarian artist Alexander von Wagner.

Walking Through Mayfaire

Mayfaire by-the-Lake, an annual fine art festival held at the Polk Museum of Art, has been a Lakeland institution for the past 50 years. The event features local artists, live performances, food trucks, and more.

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