Over the past forty years, Miami, at the crossroads of the Americas, has emerged as one of the major centers of the Afro-Cuban Orisha religion and its array of traditional arts. A religious community of over 100,000 practitioners is served by numerous specialists who produce beadwork, garments, cloth panels, metalwork, woodcarvings, altars, musical instruments, paintings, and other art forms. These works of art are expressions of spiritual devotion, inspired by the many orishas (deities) of the religion’s pantheon, such as Elegbá, Ogún, Shangó, Obatalá, Yemojá, and Oshún. Though Orisha artists are highly respected within the religious community, their work is not well known or understood by the wider public. This exhibition explores their creativity in the context of the aesthetics and symbolism of the centuries-old Orisha tradition. Click here to view the exhibition.
HistoryMiami is fortunate to have complete sets of the first and second editions of a beloved work, The Birds of America, by John James Audubon. A changing selection of prints from the elephant folio (the first edition), occasionally supplemented with volumes from the octavo edition (the second edition). Click here to view the exhibition.
The Guayabera: A Shirt’s Story explores the changing uses and significance of the guayabera, a traditional piece of menswear worn by Latin American and Caribbean populations. This online exhibition offers an overview of the guayabera’s history, one that traces the shirt’s journey through Cuba, Mexico and the United States, and from humble beginnings to fashion phenomenon. Click here to view the exhibition.
More than five million people live south of Lake Okeechobee. Sophisticated cities line the coasts, huge farms and sugar plantations sprawl south of the Lake, and a world-famous wilderness spreads across the interior, south to Florida Bay.
The farms and cities threaten the very existence of the Everglades, taking the water it needs to survive. To resolve this dilemma and to provide adequate water for all, the state and federal governments have embarked upon the largest and most costly restoration project in the nation’s history.
This problem began more than a century ago, when explorers and settlers first gazed upon the Everglades, and dreamt of change, economic wealth, and exploitation. Others soon dreamt of parks and preservation. Click here to view the exhibition.
This exhibition addresses the evolving concerns of the aviation industry throughout the twentieth century and how they were tackled by developers, promoters, pilots and the hundreds of thousands of Miamians who were involved in the field. Click here to view the exhibition.
The Cold War standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union that had defined their relationship since the end of World War II threatened to heat up in the fall of 1962, as the looming Cuban Missile Crisis brought the ominous clouds of nuclear warfare close to home. Click here to view the exhibition.
From the ‘wickedest city on earth’ to a thriving commercial centre of the New World, Port Royal, Jamaica, has been the subject of much popular interest. While the image of a decadent and lavish city bears some truth, it obscures a more complex history of English colonization and the African slave trade, of skilled craftsmen as well as crafty men, of formidable forts and awesome gunships, of urban devastation and preservation—all of which is part of the story of a town whose sleepy present belies its past of excitement and intrigue. An exhibition organized by the Institute of Jamaica and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (HistoryMiami Museum). Click here to view the exhibition.
Late nineteenth century children and adults loved stereographs. Put a double-photograph card in a viewer, peer through through the viewer at the card, and behold! The two photos seemed to blend into one three dimensional view.
While the stereographs on this site do not reproduce that 3-D effect, they do give a glimpse of Florida and the Caribbean area a century ago. Click here to view the exhibition.
While exploring the Bahamas in 1513, Juan Ponce de León landed somewhere near Cape Canaveral, named the landmass “La Florida” and claimed it for Spain. This was only 21 years after Columbus first set foot in the Bahamas and initiated Spanish colonization of the Americas. Ponce de León explored the east coast of the Florida peninsula, including Biscayne Bay, before returning to his base in Puerto Rico. Click here to view the exhibition.
The European encounter with the Caribbean, beginning in 1492, transformed societies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and directly affected the lives of millions of people. European and North American exploration and colonization of the region generated a vast literature of books, pamphlets, articles in periodicals, postcards and other types of publications. This exhibition presents Caribbean maps, prints and photographs from the collection of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. Most of these images were excised from the original publications by private collectors and dealers in maps and prints. Click here to view the exhibition.
During the two decades following World War II, population growth and an expanding economy transformed the landscape of Florida. Extensive migration from other states, new highways, the rise of jet aviation, the reinvigoration of tourism and increasing investment in military installations propelled a far-reaching boom. Click here to view the exhibition.