Friday, June 27, 2014

History Miami

I am a sucker for museums, art, and a little history. Imagine my surprise finding all three this past weekend at History Miami. This is a gem of a place, and one that people don’t seem to appreciate. I had planned to get free museum passes at the library before our visit and gave that as a reason for not being able to stay longer with the other Moms at my daughter’s camp. “Don’t worry” they all said, “No one ever takes those passes.”

I wonder why. Every time we’ve gone, the place is almost empty, which translates to me as the ultimate luxury. 


History Miami is located in the Miami-Dade Cultural Center. I am perplexed as to why every major city’s downtown center is so bad. San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York. They all have the seediest downtowns, and civic centers. Luckily, you can skip a cosmic tour of the ghetto neighborhood if you park in the Cultural Center Garage for a validated rate of only $5. Woohoo.

 
Make sure to take the elevator to the 2nd floor for the ultimate entrance. The walking tunnel showcases a beautifully designed pathway, from the antique chandeliers to the wrought iron gate designs. Walking through there will lead you to a lovely market style layout where History Museum lives alongside the Miami Dade Main Library. While the children’s area of this main library is pretty decent, we opted not to stroll through the adult section, especially avoiding the bathrooms. Art Museum used to be housed here too, before they evolved into a bigger and better fame monster a.k.a. the Perez Art Museum.

 Once inside History Miami you are transported to another dimension. The day of our visit coincided with the ‘Some Like it Hot’ exhibit, which is a fabulous display of local street art. Art is one thing, but street art, well now, that takes my appreciation to a whole other level. It was an eclectic mix of graffiti, visual design, and cultural expression. We also learned about the political struggle besieging the Miami Marine Stadium, and all the very talented artists who have claimed its murals.
 
Upstairs is where you can wander through the permanent exhibits of the museum. Authentic Cuban and Haitian rafts, a vintage railroad train, and displays of Seminole village tools and clothing are all housed here, so the visitor learns all about the rich and unexpected history of Miami. It’s not all Cuban cigars and coke parties ya’ll. Kids will take particular delight in the play areas scattered throughout the second floor. From the pioneer and pirate dress-up areas, to the Paleolithic art corner, my girls had fun and actually learned a thing or two. They were further motivated by the scavenger hunt the museum curator set them on. It was more difficult than they anticipated so we ended up hunting as a family, which was mostly fun with just some random moments of exasperation.


All in all, I will take History Miami over Miami Children’s Museum any day. Every time I’ve gone to the latter, I have felt so over stimulated, my eyes would twitch for days.

Now why aren’t there more museums like this in Miami? I’ve often remarked on the need for a dynamic one like the American Museum of Natural History where dinosaur loving kids could really explore. I have a lizard loving girl that would consider that a place of paradise. Though I have high hopes for the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, driving around Miami I see plenty of real estate opportunities to build all types of museums here. This place has so much culture, it’s time we showcase it right.



11 comments:

  1. A museum never sounds like fun until you get there.

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    1. Ha! I feel that way about the beach sometimes. All the work and preparing makes me tired just thinking about it. Thanks for your comment!

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  2. This is so good to know! My oldest son will be a freshman at U Miami this coming year. I've never been to Miami. Thanks for the suggestion (of course, we'll hit up the beach too!).

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    1. What a coincidence! We live right by UM. It's a great campus and awesome neighborhood. South Beach is awesome but also visit Crandon Park if you have time. It's a little more rustic but you'll see fishes, sea horses, bird nests, and perhaps a manatee or two!

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  3. Great tip, thanks. Always good to know about the hidden gems!

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    1. I want to make it a side life mission to discover hidden gems. :-) Thanks for reading!

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  4. Good to know, if I ever escape Philadelphia, which by the way, IMHO, has a fantastic Center City area.

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    1. Ah! I will have to visit. It will be a refreshing change to all the seedy ones I've been to. ;-) Thank you for reading!

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  5. Chicago's city center is eerily empty after 5 pm on weekdays. So, your point about other city centers rings true. Something I'd never put into words before.

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    1. There is another city center I haven't been in over 20 years. I will have to check it out in the daytime. Thanks for reading!

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