Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

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Today we visited a very impressive living history museum called the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This museum transports you from Miami to Italy and even a little bit of Paris. It is a huge mansion built by James Deering in 1914 with construction finishing in 1916. The contents of the house were sourced by Deering and his friend Paul Chaflin from all over Europe. In one of the rooms there are even antiquities from Pompeii. If the house isn’t grand enough, the gardens are simply stunning. Fountains imported from Italy, hedge mazes, and a small garden theatre are just a few of the things on offer. Continue reading “Vizcaya Museum and Gardens”

Wolfsonian Museum

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Right in the heart of the Art Deco district is the Wolfsonian Museum. It is an incredibly impressive structure. Originally, the building was utilized as a storehouse for the belongings of visitors who were leaving Miami in summer but returning the following winter. In 1986, the function of the building changed to become a museum. It’s mission was to “exhibit, document, and preserve the Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection of Decorative and Propaganda Arts” (http://www.wolfsonian.org/about/museum-history). This mission continues to define the Wolfsonian. In 1997 the collection was donated to the Florida International University. These are just some fast facts to contextualize the museum. Continue reading “Wolfsonian Museum”

Art Deco in Miami

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If you love Art Deco architecture then Miami should be on your bucket list. Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue are saturated with some of the finest examples of Mediterranean Revival (1910s – 1920s), Art Deco (1920s – 1940s), and MiMo (1940s-1960s) style buildings. These buildings are still standing thanks to the efforts of the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL). Whilst the society focuses on the tangible heritage, that is preserving the physical structures of the building, what they have also achieved is the continuance of intangible stories. Heritage interpretation in the form of guided tours and self-guided audio tours were readily available for individuals wishing to explore the gems of the beach. Continue reading “Art Deco in Miami”

Orlando, Miami, and Nashville

Since I am leaving for America on Saturday I thought I’d write a quick blog entry on what museums/museum-like places I will be visiting.

Our first stop is Orlando. My main intention for this part of the trip is to be entirely surrounded by all things Disney. In saying this, we are visiting Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). Part of this park is a World Showcase, exhibiting the culture, architecture, food, and products of eleven separate nations. Thinking back to a subject I completed on exhibition development, this kind of exhibition has a fascinating history. The 1889 World Exposition in Paris, for example, had a ‘Street of Cairo’. Visitors could literally walk down a re-created Egyptian street purchase goods and try typical foods. Even closer to home we have the 1988 Brisbane World Expo. Even though I was -4 years old when that expo happened the fact I could never visit has left a void in my life. I hope that Epcot at least attempts to fill that void. Continue reading “Orlando, Miami, and Nashville”