Historical Museum Joins Bicentennial Park Plan
By Susan Stabley
The Historical Museum of Southern Florida hopes to move in with the Miami Museum of Science & Space Transit Planetarium at the planned Museum Park Miami in Bicentennial Park.
The partnership has developed over the past 10 days, according to historical museum interim president Robert McCammon.
A partnership between the two museums would lead to joint exhibits and shared resources that would cut expenses for both, said Mr. McCammon, a former board member of the science museum and its president during a search that netted current leader Gillian Thomas.
"We’d bring some money with our project," he said Monday, adding that financial specifics are still being worked out.
The historical museum had wanted to move into the historic Freedom Tower in Miami, Mr. McCammon said, but plans didn’t work out. Instead, he said, a General Obligation Bond the county hopes to put on the November ballot could give the historical museum funds as part of the Museum Park project.
A line item in a preliminary list of projects in the bond issue includes $175 million for "Museum of Science/Historical Museum of Southern Florida."
The Museum Park plan was launched in 2000 when leaders of the science museum and the Miami Art Museum signed a joint resolution to move to the 29-acre Bicentennial Park. Miami voters approved a bond in 2001 that reserved $3.5 million for each of the museums provided they raise $10.5 million each in matching donations.
The historical museum has 10,000 square feet of permanent space and 3,000 square feet of temporary space at 101 W. Flagler St. at Metro-Dade Cultural Center Plaza, also home to the art museum. A 10,000-square-foot warehouse holds much of the historical museum’s collection, Mr. McCammon said.
Before moving into its current building, the historical museum was a partner with the science museum on 3 acres at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens at 3280 S. Miami Ave.
The historical museum could get 15,000 square feet of permanent space and 10,000 square feet of flexible space plus offices at Museum Park, he said.
City commissioners in May hired Cooper Robertson & Partners to serve as economic, landscape and infrastructure consultants for the design of the museum complex.
A collaboration of the historical and science museums would not change the footprint of the Bicentennial Park proposal, Mr. McCammon said.
That’s key, said Miami City Commissioner Johnny Winton, whose district inclues the park. "Green space is crucially important."
Commissioner Winton said the partnership plan is an "intriguing possibility."
"On the surface, I like the concept a lot," he said Tuesday, because it combines resources, "which is something this community hasn’t done a very good job of over the years."