Tucked away in Lake Worth, on the border of Wellington, sits the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame (561-969-3210). Founded in 1984, the museum opened in its current location in 1997 and is the only polo museum in the world. “I personally find it an awesome responsibility to have to collect and preserve this history, because if we don’t have this building a lot of it would be lost,” says Brenda Lynn, the museum’s director of development. The museum showcases the history of polo in the United States in its collection of art, trophies, artifacts, and documents as well as its hall of fame, which honors heroes of the sport—both human and equine. The museum recently underwent a renovation that added 2,500 square feet, allowing for even more exhibitions that range from women in polo to the evolution of the mallet. Below, we outline five treasures to check out on your next visit to horse country.
- Pairs trophy from the 1980s: Lynn’s favorite piece in the collection, this trophy was the first ever constructed for a U.S. polo match and exudes a charming folk-art aesthetic.
- Tom Mix’s saddle: Like many posh people of the early 1900s, silent movie star Tom Mix loved to play polo. While most polo saddles are smooth, his was tooled like a western saddle, as he frequently starred in westerns.
- U.S. Open Polo Championship trophy: The Museum of Polo is the official keeper of this coveted trophy. Each year, it is escorted to the tournament and then returned to the museum emblazoned with the name of the new championship team.
- Horses to Remember: The equine section of the Hall of Fame includes realistic portraits by artist Melinda Brewer and a push-and-play display that allows visitors to learn about each memorable horse.
- Franklin B. Voss artwork: Remembered as one of the best equine artists of the past century, Voss captured images of polo players and ponies. The Museum of Polo has three of his paintings and a selection of his artistic plates.
Polo portrait by Franklin B. Voss