Museums in Miami

Miami is probably best known for South Beach where topless sunbathing is the norm and art deco architectural style is prevalent. It’s also renowned for its diverse ethic backgrounds and wild parties, but Miami has a lot more to offer tourists and locals, especially in the way of museums. Pretty much every topic you’d like to cover has a museum dedicated to it in Miami. From the standard art and historical museum to a holocaust and erotic museum.  Don’t let your next trip to Miami come and go without a trip to one of Miami’s incredible museums.

Probably the most unusual museum in Miami is the World Erotic Art Museum resides in the heart of the art deco region and is surrounded by a great cultural center that must be seen. A trip inside the World Erotic Art Museum will quickly make you realize that this museum is also a must for your trip. Billed as the greatest collection of erotica, this celebration of human nature includes traditional art as well as sculpture, tapestries and artifacts from ancient cultures through contemporary trends. More than a collection of smut, this museum takes a professional and intelligent approach to erotica throughout the ages.

The nearby Wolfsonian-Florida International University is a unique collection of “modern” artifacts that date from 1885 through 1945 and looks at them in a different way. The focus is on art and design and how these aspects of the collection reflect the human experience. Visitors are encouraged to discuss what the environment was at the time the object was presented and then to evaluate how the art object in question in turn affected society. The museum was initially founded by Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. in 1986, eleven years later it became a division of FIU and artifacts were donated. The first official public museum exhibition opened in 1988. Creative Commons License photo credit: abacusengine

Most people think of art when they think of museums so no museum list is complete without at least one art museum, luckily Miami has a few excellent art museums. The Miami Art Museum is a new museum (established in 1997) that looks to capture every aspect of its diverse culture in one single museum. As the MAM is fairly new the collection is continually growing and each visit is bound to be different than your last.

Want a more established art museum? How about the Lowe Art Museum which was established in 1950. But to be fair, in 1950 it was only three classrooms at the University of Miami. Since then the Lowe has expanded but remains true to its mission to be an educational museum both to students and to the public. The Lowe is well funded and supported by the wealthy Miami community and more than a few foundations. There is an extensive collection of 19th and 20th centuries in America, a noted ancient American collection, an important Asian collection and 41 Renaissance and Baroque works.

Another favorite standby is the science museum and Miami has a great one in the Miami Science Museum. In 1994 the county of Miami-Dade approved $175 million to create a new museum in the revitalized city center. There’s a variety of things to do at the museum an ever changing schedule of upcoming shows. There’s also a planetarium a wildlife center and a museum store to explore. And for a more in-depth experience, consider one of the camps. You and your group can camp-in and have an overnight experience or you can sign up for one of the seasonal camps or classes and workshops. More than a day’s worth of activities, the Miami Science Museum is a great adventure for everyone in the family.Creative Commons License photo credit: abacusengine

If you’ve got little ones in tow, then the Miami Children’s Museum is a great place to spend an afternoon. Some of the permanent exhibits include the Castle of Dreams and the Sea and Me, where kids can learn about the ocean that surrounds them and explore a two story castle. Pet Central is great if you’re thinking about adding a furry new family member, it gives kids the basics on pet care and how to behave around animals. Several different exhibits give children a taste of future professional options including real heroes, television studio experience, and a look at the music business. If you’ve already been to the Miami Children’s Museum you might be interested in the traveling exhibits. Currently the Blue Man Group is featured, but you better hurry as they’ll be hitting the road soon and making way for the Adventures of Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Another museum that appeals to the children and adults alike is the Gold Coast Railroad Museum. Like most ideas, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum started small, some unused rails soon become the foundation of a museum that now contains the Ferdinand Magellan U.S. No. 1 Presidential Railcar, a California Zephyr Silver Crescent, Naval Air Station Richmond, and a number of other types of rail cars as well as several rides. The museum also features several events regularly and throughout the year.

For a change of pace consider making a visit to the Jewish Museum of Florida, a beautifully restored art deco synagogue. In addition to being a stunning work of architecture, the museum also features permanent and traveling exhibits as well as cultural and educational programs. Combine your visit to the Jewish Museum of Florida with a trip to the Holocaust Memorial, a permanent memorial dedicated to the memory of the six million Jewish victims of the holocaust. Together, the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial, create an educational and moving experience that will linger in the minds and hearts of visitors.

Beyond the well known glitz and glam of the gold coast there is an undercurrent of excitement that is missed by far too many people. Miami is a town rife with cultural, educational, artistic, and just plain fun exhibits for everyone.  There’s simply no excuse for boredom in Miami with all there is to see and do.