The 6 Best Museums in Miami, Florida

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is one of Miami’s best museums
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is one of Miami’s best museums | © Bill Sumner

If you can tear yourself away from Miami’s vibrant al fresco happenings, the city’s museums offer a world-class selection of art, history and artifacts.

Museum of Contemporary Art

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Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami
© Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has come a long way since its inception as a single gallery space in 1981. Now one of Miami’s most beloved cultural institutions, the MOCA hosts around eight to 10 special exhibits a year alongside its stellar permanent collections. Among those showcased in the MOCA permanent collection are Keith Haring, Gabriel Orozco and José Bedia, with the collection boasting a whopping 500 works of art. The museum makes contemporary art accessible to diverse audiences via a packed schedule of community programing, including a popular jazz concert series held on the last Friday of each month.

HistoryMiami Museum

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HistoryMiami Museum was founded in 1940 | © History Miami
HistoryMiami Museum, formerly known as the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, was founded in 1940 and is the largest history museum in the state of Florida. The museum offers the community, its residents and visitors meaningful ways to connect with the rich past as well as the ever-evolving future of the region and its diverse inhabitants.

Jewish Museum of Florida

Building, Museum
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The Jewish Museum of Florida is a must-visit in Miami Beach | © Jewish Museum of Florida FIU
The Jewish Museum of Florida at FIU is located in two restored buildings that were previously synagogues. Its mission is to “collect, preserve and interpret the material evidence of the Florida Jewish experience” while highlighting the similarities among all immigrant communities. Evolving from a grassroots project that spanned the state, the Jewish Museum now “cares for 100,000 items”, including a full set of archived photographs, showing day-to-day Jewish life in Florida over the years.

The Bass Museum of Art

Museum, Building, Library
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Miami Mountain Sculpture by Ugo Rondinone at the entrance to the Bass Museum, Collins Park, Miami Beach, USA.
The Bass museum champions bold art | © Jason Bryan / Alamy Stock Photo
Situated in the heart of Miami Beach, The Bass Museum of Art shows contemporary works from established artists of international acclaim, including Sylvie Fleury and Jim Drain. Most notable of the long-term exhibits sponsored by The Bass might be the Miami Mountains, a colorful stack of larger-than-life rocks visible from the most bustling intersections of Collins Avenue. Exhibits at The Bass tend to go beyond canvases and installations, expanding the definition of contemporary art to incorporate fashion, design and architecture.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Botanical Garden, Museum, Park
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Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was once home to James Derring
© Bill Sumner
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a landmark that preserves the estate of agricultural industrialist James Deering to engage the community and its guests in learning through the arts, history and the environment. This museum is a great place to learn about the community in a unique and historical way. It works to create an inclusive environment, and preservation is at the center of all endeavors.

Pérez Art Museum Miami

Art Gallery, Museum, Park
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Showcasing the best contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries while also reflecting the multitude of nationalities that call Miami home – that’s the aim of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). The Pérez Art Museum is an absolute staple in modern art in the US alone, providing a deeply visceral experience through sight, sound and touch. Since 2016, it’s estimated that over 2,000 works live in the PAMM’s permanent collection. The institution strives to foster the healthy exchange of ideas among the city’s citizens through the medium of art, “promoting inclusivity across our communities, backgrounds, and experiences.” Also privy to the millennial-minded Instagram generation, permanent collections include interactive, fun house-like displays that play with color and texture both inside and outside of the property.

These recommendations were updated on December 20, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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