Museumto Manage Circle Site
Written by Risa Polansky on June 14, 2007
By Risa Polansky
The Historical Museum of Southern Florida is to manage the Miami Circle site pending a lease agreement with the state’s archaeological bureau to be signed this summer, said Bob McCammon, president and CEO of the museum.
The National Parks Service recently denied a request to make the 2,000-year-old Brickell site, likely a remnant of the Tequesta people, part of nearby Biscayne National Park because it’s a cultural landmark as opposed to a natural one.
From there, the state turned to the museum to manage the 2.2-acre property east of the Brickell Avenue Bridge.
"Our board agreed to go ahead and work with the state and develop a sublease from the state group that is currently maintaining it," Mr. McCammon said.
The museum is to pay a "nominal fee," most likely about $300 a year, to lease the property from the archaeological bureau, he said, and will be financially responsible for area maintenance and any additions to the property such as signage.
The lease runs through 2052.
A museum group this month is to "talk about what we might be able to do" with the site in the future — such as create a "passive park kind of environment" with posted educational information about the Circle’s history, Mr. McCammon said.
"This is a unique archaeological site, one of a kind," museum curator Jorge Zamanillo said in March. "It may have been a ceremonial site or chieftain dwelling just across the mouth of the river from an also-ancient Tequesta settlement."
The site could become part of a tour for students who visit the museum to study Florida history, Mr. McCammon said, although access could be limited as development continues in the area.
Part of Cultural Center Plaza in downtown Miami, the museum features an exhibit of Circle artifacts uncovered in 1999, when excavations began.