Unique exhibits on display as museum opens, Oct. 22

By Stephanie Rojas….
The Coral Gables Museum will debut several exciting exhibits when it opens to the public on Saturday, Oct. 22. The museum building, which once served as a police and fire station for the City of Coral Gables, will house five unique exhibits, including “La Florida: Discover, Explore and Commemorate,” a one-of-a-kind exhibit featuring 50 historic maps from Spain, as well as a tribute to Anthony Abraham, one of South Florida’s most prolific philanthropists.

Museum members are invited to enjoy a Spanish-themed brunch at 10 a.m., followed by the opening to the general public at 1 p.m.

“The Coral Gables Museum is excited to finally launch its inaugural exhibits this October,” said Arva Moore Parks, acting director of the Coral Gables Museum. “The exhibits celebrate Coral Gables’ rich history, including our special connection to Spain.”

The largest exhibit to be featured this fall will be “Creating the Dream: George Merrick and his Vision for Coral Gables,” which also serves as the theme for the inaugural weekend festivities. Curated by Ms. Parks, renowned historian and author, the multi-room exhibit highlights the genius of George Merrick, his family and other visionaries who inspired him and helped him turn his dream into reality.

Visitors will learn how Merrick visited other planned cities before he founded Coral Gables, as well as how he launched his first advertising campaign with the slogan, “Coral Gables: Where Your Castles in Spain are Made Real.”

The museum also will present “Bringing Beauty into Our Lives: Art and Architecture in Coral Gables During the New Deal, 1933-1941,” curated by John A. Stuart, professor of architecture and chair of the Department of Architecture and Florida International University. The exhibit honors a time when Coral Gables boasted a vibrant community of local artists and architects, access to the subtropical beauty of Biscayne Bay and perhaps most importantly, strong support among residents for Roosevelt’s New Deal policies.

Another featured exhibit, “Coral Gables’ Sister Cities: Partners in Peace,” curated by Caroline Parker-Santiago, will be displayed as a dedication to the City of Coral Gables’ beloved sister cities, part of an international movement launched by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.

Images and text will tell the story of our nation in a Cold War environment and how Eisenhower rallied the public to reach out to citizens of other nations in an effort to promote cultural understanding and world peace. Visitors are invited to learn the history of this international peace program and uncover the connections between Coral Gables and her sister cities.

The Coral Gables Museum celebrates the civic arts of architecture, city planning, landscape architecture, historic and environmental preservation and history — the elements that define Coral Gables. It is a true public/private partnership between the City of Coral Gables and the Coral Gables Museum Corp., a private, not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation.

For more information on Coral Gables Museum, including memberships, visit online at www.coralgablesmuseum.org/ or call 305-603-8067.

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