Rachel Frisby, 2009

Curator, Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

I’ve been working as a museum Curator/Programming Director for the past 4 years in Winter Park, FL, just outside Orlando.  I work at a wonderful historic home and sculpture gardens; the home of Albin Polasek, a world-renown Czech/American sculptor.  He’s the sculptor of the Woodrow Wilson monument in Prague, and created much of the public sculpture in Chicago, where he taught at the Art Institute of Chicago for 30 years as the head of their sculpture department.  We have the largest collection of Polasek sculpture in the world, and are the ONLY historic Artist Home and STUDIO in the state of Florida; 1 of only 36 in the country part of the National Trust’s Historic Artists Homes and Studios Consortium.  Our grounds are lovely, located right on Lake Osceola. We have become known as a Mecca for classical sculpture as well as our story of inspiration!  We recently made national news by successfully saving and fundraising to preserve the historic Capen House, built 1885, and relocate, by barge, to our property.  The last two years, I have spent renovating our sculpture gardens; relocating 17 sculptures, upgrading ADA facility requirements and re-envisioning our thematic approach.  My goal is to let the sculpture speak.

My job consists of creating temporary exhibitions for our Polasek Gallery, a space that I change out every 3 months with exciting contemporary and historic collections. I plan all the programming out for two years, including exhibitions. I am charged with the care of an outdoor collection, which keeps me very busy with preventive conservation, as well as the care of 4 historic buildings on our campus, and the care of our indoor decorative art collection as well. 

I love my job because it’s always something different from day-to-day.  I could be visiting a collector's home, judging an art festival, waxing a giant bronze sculpture, preparing an educational event, writing interpretive text, or giving a curatorial tour. This place keeps me on my toes and it can be exhausting, but it’s incredibly rewarding to use my degree and to see how much positive change I have accomplished in just a few years.  Small institutions are great, because you can implement change quickly and actually get to achieve goals and ideas relatively fast.   The highlight of my career here, thus far, was giving a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum to a delegation from the Czech Republic and meeting their Deputy Prime Minster.  It was very special to share the collection and home of Albin Polasek with his fellow countrymen.

I use every class from KU Muse program…it’s my basis for ethics with collections, board relations, conservation, registration methods and exhibition design.  I am always the advocate for the collection and I have to fight for every collection/conservation related project.  I am able to be passionate about what we need and insist upon it, because of the classes from KU and understanding museum standards. If I had to give advice to up-and-coming Muse students I would strongly urge them to take practical courses that they will use, rather than more history or art course work.  I WISH I would have taken grant writing courses, website design, fundraising, and Adobe Design classes.  Those would have helped me so much more than say Renaissance history, even though those are great classes. Stress and learn social media, social media, and social media.

Go JAYHAWKS!!!! And Orlando STRONG!!!! :)

Check us out on FB https://www.facebook.com/PolasekMuseum/  You can see all my newest exhibitions and events.

The Albin Polasek Museum & Scuplture Gardens is located at:
633 Osceola Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789

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Museum Events

FILM - Out of State Saturday, December 09 | 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St. Kansas City, MO
In 2007, the state of Hawaii outsourced the care of roughly 2,000 male prisoners to a private, for-profit prison in Arizona. Exiled thousands of miles from their island home, a group of indigenous Hawaiian inmates have discovered their calling on the inside: teaching each other their native language and dances. As several of the men complete their sentences, the film follows them as they reintegrate in Hawaii. Out of State explores questions of cultural and religious identity; the overabundance of native Hawaiians and minorities in the prison system; the cycle of criminal behavior and its impact on the family; and prisoner entitlement. Join us for a moderated discussion led by Native-Hawaiian filmmaker and Out of State’s director, Ciara Lacy, and member of the Osage Nation, Jimmy Lee Beason II, M.S.W.

Meet the Experts: Christmas Crèches​
Sunday, December 10 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
The National Museum of Toys/Miniatures, 5235 Oak St. Kansas City, MO
Get to know the experts at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures through this monthly exploration of special topics. On December 10, enjoy special displays of Christmas crèches from the Bud and Jan Koupal Collection. Hear a talk about the history and tradition of holiday crèches, and stay afterward for cider and cookies. The program includes a lecture and museum visit. Included with museum admission.

TALK - Civic Leader and Art Collector: Sallie Casey Thayer and an Art Museum for KU
Thursday, December 14 | 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317 Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 1301 Mississippi St.
A hundred years ago, Kansas City philanthropist Sallie Casey Thayer donated her extensive collection to the KU, forming the basis for what is today the Spencer Museum of Art’s collection. Celka Straughn, Director of Academic Programs, discusses this eclectic collection, from Japanese prints and American paintings to sumptuous textiles, ancient artifacts, and even valentines. This series of informal gallery talks is designed for senior citizens but open to everyone.

TALK - Slow Art Sunday: Presepio 
Sunday, December 17 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317 Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 1301 Mississippi St.
Slow down at the Spencer and spend time getting to know one great work of art. Slow Art Sunday features one work for visitors to contemplate and converse about with Museum staff. In December, get to know our 18th-century Italian Presepio.

TALK - Home for the Holidays 
Sunday, December 24 | 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St.
Every year, Spencer Museum Director Saralyn Reece Hardy spends an afternoon in the galleries welcoming visitors and leading informal tours to celebrate the holiday season. This year's tour centers on the origins of the Museum and collecting and sharing art as a form of civic engagement. Tours begin at 12pm and 1pm. Join us and make this Spencer Museum tradition your own. These tours are presented in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the Museum’s collection.

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