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

Museum Events

Kenneth Spencer Research Library North Gallery Grand Reopening
Thursday, September 7 | 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m.: 15-minute tours of North Gallery, 4 p.m.: Brief remarks
Kenneth Spencer Research Library, 1450 Poplar Lane
University of Kansas campus

Fall 2017 Applied Humanities Workshop with N.Y. Nathiri
Friday, September 15 | 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Hall Center for the Humanities Conference Room
Nathiri is executive director of of the Association for the Preservation of the Eatonville Community (P.E.C.). P.E.C. is a 501(c)(3) founded in 1987 and based in Eatonville, Florida, the hometown of Zora Neale Hurston. P.E.C. hosts the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of Arts and Humanities; The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts (The Hurston); and a host of year-round programs for pre-K through 12. Nathiri is a professionally trained librarian and an award-winning preservationist.

Teacher Appreciation Night
September 28 | 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
The Truman Presidential Museum
500 W. U.S. Highway 24
Independence, MO
More than 20 museums across the region will be present to help teachers craft lessons and offer their resources. Free to all educators.

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