What do you think if you enter the lobby of a museum and are greeted by a huge, multi colored flamingo, wearing trainers and sunglasses? Ok, not a living bird, , a statue, but even so, you can’t help but break into a huge smile and realize, that, indeed, you are in southern Florida, where everything, serious or not, is presented with a touch of fun and humor.
The Historical Museum of Southern Florida, also known as HistoryMiami, is no exception. Located in the heart of downtown Miami, at 101 W Flagler Street to be exact, the museum documents the multifacetious history of the south of Florida. Spred over three floors, the museum features permanent exhibitions as well as changing ones with various subjects, all of them interesting and entertaining at equal parts.
The museum was crucial in the excavation and restoration of the Miami Circle, a sacred site of the prehistoric Tequesta Indians who settled close to the Miami River. The second floor is dedicated to a vast collection of artifacts from the Seminole and Miccosokee Indians who still live in reservations in the nearby Everglades.
Of course, Miami would never have become Miami as we know it without the pioneers Henry Flagler, Julia Tutle and others and their vision of the future. Their lives and achievements are documented in details throughout the museum.
And there are other aspects too, like the collection of Pan Am artifacts and exhibits related to water sports and underwater photography. As you can see, Miami’s history is extremely colorful and so is the museum. Upcoming is an exhibition dedicated to the Guayabera, the lose, embroidered shirt which originates from Cuba and is a garment you can see gentlemen wear every day in the streets of Miami.
To continue with the theme of fun: weekends are dedicated to families who want to visit the museum. Kids can play at pirates, local ladies often prepare Florida specialties and will happily teach you how to make them. Workshops are conducted where you can learn how to make things from shells and beads.
In short, a museum which uniquely succeeds in combining the serious aspects of local history with ‘hands on’ fun which will interest kids in their origins better than any history lesson at school ever could.
Opening hours are from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Friday. Weekends have different opening times and admission is often reduced or free. During normal museum hours admission is $8 per adult.
For more details visit the museum’s website. www.historymuseum.org.