- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Visit the Polk Museum of Art
The Junior Welfare League founded the all-volunteer Imperial Youth Museum in 1966. In 1968, the first professional director was employed, and in 1969 the Museum was renamed Polk Public Museum to reflect an emphasis on art, history and science.
In 1970, the Board of Trustees purchased a vacant Publix supermarket building, doubling exhibition and classroom space. In addition, and working closely with the Polk County School Board, the Museum established a strong art education program. In 1983, the Museum received national accreditation as an art museum from the American Association of Museums. Thus, the name “Polk Museum of Art” was adopted and planning for the first building campaign began. The current facility was designed by architect Ernie Straughn. It was formally dedicated in September 1988 and opened debt-free.
In 2016, the Polk Museum of Art celebrates its 50th anniversary. It is the largest and the only nationally accredited visual arts organization in Polk County and has been a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum since 2010. The Museum serves a broad range of citizens in their communities throughout and beyond Polk County. No other art museum in our region provides the same breadth and depth of direct services to a broader geographic area.