This Smithsonian Institution–affiliated institution has an impressive collection of stuff that has defined Florida since pre-history, including the Seminoles, early 20th-century Florida homes, aviation (especially big on Pan Am—anybody remember Pan Am?), and maritime history. Recent exhibitions, meanwhile, have included “Mission Artifacts of Spanish Florida” and another dedicated to reggae legend Bob Marley. The Miami-Dade Cultural Center, where it’s housed, is an elevated, fortresslike complex designed by Philip Johnson, also home to the main branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library, which sometimes features art and cultural exhibits. Keep in mind that the plaza onto which the complex opens is a bit of a hangout for downtown Miami’s street people, which can make it slightly off-putting, though not dangerous; the adjacent parking garage has a skywalk directly into the museum plaza.
- David Paul Appell