The City of Coral Gables and the Coral Gables Museum will host a free public open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 10 (10/10/10) at the newly restored Old Police and Fire Station. This 1939 structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be the new home of the Coral Gables Museum and the City of Coral Gables’ Historical Resources Department and Raul Valdes-Fauli Archives.
The open house will begin at 10:10 a.m. with a continental breakfast, activities for children and families, and self-guided tours. The building — its spectacular restoration will serve as the museum’s initial “exhibition” — will be open all day for casual visits, activities and tours. The museum’s main entrance is located at 285 Aragon Ave. in downtown Coral Gables.
The project’s architect, Jorge L. Hernandez, will speak at 2 p.m. on the process and inspirations he used to transform the city’s former Police and Fire Station into the Coral Gables Museum. Following Hernandez’s lecture, cake and ice cream will be served in the new Museum Courtyard.
Activities for children and families as well as self-guided tours will continue throughout the day.
At 4 p.m. live music will begin in the Giralda Plaza, a newly created public space on the corner of Salzedo and Giralda, as guests arrive for the dedication ceremonies.
At 5 p.m. the governing bodies of the two host organizations — the City of Coral Gables and the Coral Gables Museum — will recognize and honor all those individuals, governmental agencies, corporations and private foundations that have made this renovation and construction possible.
A symbolic ribbon will be cut at the end of the ceremonies and everyone will be encouraged to tour the new museum and archives. Music, hors d’oeuvres and mojitos provided by Bacardi USA of Coral Gables will continue in the plaza until 7 p.m.
The Coral Gables Museum is a public/private partnership between the City of Coral Gables and the Coral Gables Museum Corp., a not for profit 501(c)3 corporation. The museum will operate this educational cultural institution within the city-owned facility, which also will house the Coral Gables Historic Preservation Department.
The museum raises its own operating budget to fund the exhibitions and educational programs it provides, through memberships, private and government grants, admissions, earned income and contributions.
The Coral Gables Museum has been the dream of many Coral Gables leaders for over a decade. By 2005 it became evident that the Gables’ old Municipal Building, better known as the Old Police and Fire Station, had deteriorated to a point where major renovation was needed. The building, a 1939 Deco and Mediterranean Revival coral stone structure designed and constructed as a WPA project, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Holding true to Coral Gables’ vision of historic preservation in The City Beautiful, city officials and the newly formed Coral Gables Museum Corp. began a partnership to restore and renovate the building, add a state-of-the-art exhibition gallery in an adjacent parking lot and create a new museum in the heart of downtown. The museum, with its beautiful gallery spaces, community meeting room, courtyard and plaza, will serve as the cultural center of Coral Gables.
Restoration of the historic building that will house the Coral Gables Museum has recently been completed. Also, the Robert and Marian Fewell Gallery, a 3,000-square-foot addition for major exhibitions named after the project’s largest private donors, was constructed. Nearly all of the funding for this addition was donated by the Coral Gables Museum.
Other funding for the project came from the City of Coral Gables, private donations to the City of Coral Gables, contributions to the Coral Gables Museum Corp., the State of Florida Historical Preservation Program and Miami-Dade County General Obligation Bond Funds.
The museum’s mission is to celebrate, investigate and explore all aspects of architecture, landscape architecture, design and urban planning as well as historic and environmental preservation, set within the context of one of America’s first and most successful planned communities, the City of Coral Gables.
For more information, contact Steven Klindt, executive director of the Coral Gables Museum, at 305-301-6616 or via email at Steven@CoralGablesMuseum.org.
The museum’s website is www.coralgablesmuseum.org.