November 17, 2012 – February 10, 2013

Murray & Ledger Galleries

On June 21, 2012, Polk Museum of Art celebrated its 46th anniversary, and as we edge closer to the big 5-0, we think it is important to look back to our start.

The Museum was officially incorporated as the Youth Museum of Imperial Polk County on June 21, 1966, and opened for business in a small church building at 115 Walnut Street on December 11, 1967.  At first, volunteers from the Junior Welfare League (now Junior League), Junior Woman’s Club of Lakeland, Junior Sorosis Club and Keyettes at Lakeland High “staffed” the Museum.

The name was changed to Polk Public Museum at Lakeland: Science, History and Art, Inc. in 1968 and then shortened to Polk Public Museum. In 1970, the Museum moved into a former Publix Super Markets building on Palmetto Street. Eventually, the Board settled on a fine arts focus and on June 13, 1985, renamed the Museum for the last time:  Polk Museum of Art.

The current building – a work of art in itself with soaring 16-foot ceilings and marble-tiled floors — opened to the public in 1988. It was constructed for $5 million and opened debt-free.

1989 was the first full year that the Museum was open and to celebrate, the 1989 exhibition will showcase some of the pieces that were collected during that year.