Saturday, April 18, 2015

Finding History in Miami

By Jeff Burns

Spring Break.  We wanted – no, needed – beach, a beach where we wouldn’t see teenagers and where we would be assured of good temperatures, so we went to Miami.  We stayed in North Miami Beach, not on the beach, but about 15 minutes from the beach we wanted to be on and about 30 minutes from South Beach and located on Biscayne Boulevard, the historic U.S. Highway #1, one of Miami’s main thoroughfares. 

In the moments we tore ourselves from the beach, we were able to explore a few interesting museums and enjoy some great food you may consider for your next trip to Miami.

For our first meal in Miami, we went to Versailles, the self-proclaimed “world’s most-famous Cuban restaurant” on the outskirts of the Little Havana district.  Not sure where the name came from, the staff was far too busy for chit chat.  Maybe it comes from the very 1970s décor, with mirrors and chandeliers everywhere.  At any rate, the food was excellent, spoiling our tastes for all other Cuban restaurants forever.

We weren’t surely what to expect when we when to the Wolfsonian Museum  but we were very pleasantly surprised.  The  Wolfsonian is a museum and archive of design and architecture focusing on the period from 1885 to 1945.  We started with a fascinating World War I exhibit called “myth+machine” that focused on the technology and effects of the war on civilians and soldiers alike.  There was a wide variety of art works and posters that reflected  views from all sides, central and allied powers alike.

The other exhibits were just as interesting, showcasing design in popular culture, everything from innovations from various World’s Fairs to the art deco appliances of the 1920s and 1930s to propaganda posters, including the first commercially available television set which debuted at the 19309 World’s Fair in New York City (below, right)

OK, time to come clean:  the Wolfsonian is the only museum we made it to (but it was well worth it).  I mean, look at this beach.

We really intended to hit some of these other recommended museums, and maybe we will on a return trip.  Check out this list from Tripadvisor. In addition to the museums on this list, there is also the Bay of Pigs Museum, created by (and run) by participants in that failed invasion of Castro’s Cuba, and the World Erotic Art Museum, not a museum of pornography, but of erotic art by known artists and representing various movement. 

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