A Culture Lover’s Guide to Miami Museum Month

Miami Museum Month PAMM

By Sara Liss

While May is prime time for beach lounging and sunbathing in Miami, culture aficionados can also indulge in one of the city’s most refined events this spring: Miami Museum Month.

From Miami’s most famous institutions to smaller, lesser-known establishments, museums offer an array of enticing experiences throughout the month, including exclusive exhibitions, special events, incentives for memberships, and more. Read on for our recommendations for what not to miss this season during your stay at Acqualina Resort & Spa.

 Zhao Gang PAMM landscape

Photo: Zhao Gang/PAMM

The Pérez Art Museum Miami is arguably the city’s most famous cultural beacon — it’s internationally recognized for both its stellar art collection and its striking Herzog & de Meuron-designed building.

Head over to the bayfront pavilion and prepare to spend hours perusing exhibits like the current Liliana Porter show, which functions as a sort of retrospective of the Argentine artist’s installations. Also opening this month is a show by Beatriz Gonzàlez, a Bogotá-based painter known for recreating popular images taken from news sources.

On Thursday, May 23rd, the museum will be hosting a pop-up cocktail lounge in honor of the opening of Zhao Gang: History Painting, a 14-painting exhibition featuring works from the Chinese contemporary artist. After your visit, stop in the gift shop to peruse sophisticated art books and design-centric home goods.

 Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Photo: Frost Science

Across the plaza from the Pérez Art Museum Miami is the newly minted Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. With its dazzling planetarium, aquarium, and exhibit halls, it has something for everyone. Rising three stories, the aquarium features a 31-foot-wide oculus lens and viewing portal into the Gulf Stream Aquarium habitat, where hammerhead sharks and other sea creatures can be seen. The museum also offers a stingray touch tank and 3-D planetarium shows that focus on topics ranging from space exploration to climate change.

On Saturday, May 4th, the museum will host their annual “Big Bang” fundraiser, effectively turning the entire museum into an adults-only house party with cocktails, light bites, disco robots, virtual-reality stations, and laser planetarium shows.

Over on Miami Beach, the Wolfsonian-FIU attracts critical thinkers and art lovers alike. Located in the heart of the Art Deco District of South Beach, the museum’s exhibits showcase industrial design with a focus on American and European decorative and fine arts produced between 1885 and 1945. To cap off their Miami Museum Month run on Friday, May 31st, there will be a “Sketching in the Galleries” night that is open to the public.

Further up Collins Ave is The Bass, a stately museum that’s been a treasure trove of contemporary works for the City of Miami Beach since it was founded in 1963. The museum recently underwent an expansion to give it twice as much exhibit space, allowing it to feature more of-the-moment exhibits as well as its signature family-friendly art activities in the bright and airy Creativity Center. On Sunday, May 19th, museum members will be treated to a breakfast lecture by curator Leilani Lynch focusing on a solo exhibition by artist Sheila Hicks.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Photo: Bill Sumner/Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

With its storied mansion and exquisite gardens, one could easily spend a day just meandering through the fairytale-like grounds of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens — but visitors still shouldn’t pass up the interesting programming offered throughout the month.

A Mother’s Day Orchid Workshop on Saturday, May 11th gets you up close and personal with the flora on display, and on Sunday, May 12th, artist and illustrator Margie Bauer will be leading children on a “Zendoodle” class, where participants will explore the gardens to find patterns and draw them. More events on the roster include moonlight meditation in the garden and yoga. The museum will also offer a “Garden to Glass” cocktail event on Wednesday, May 15th, where local mixologists will pay homage to the home’s prohibition-era history while offering tastes of hand-crafted libations made with the garden’s herbs.

Step back in time with a trip to the Ancient Spanish Monastery, a cloister built in Segovia, Spain in the 12th century and meticulously rebuilt in Miami in the 1950s. Guided tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm.

May is also the perfect time to discover smaller, independent museums, such as the Rubell Family Collection and the tech-focused ARTECHOUSE, which showcases experiential works. No matter which cultural hotspots you choose to explore, Miami Museum Month is a sublime opportunity to expand your mind and indulge your intellect.

Featured Photo: Daniel Azoulay Photography/PAMM


About the Contributor

Sara Liss has been a freelancer for lifestyle publications for over ten years. She is the Senior Food Writer at Miami.com and she is authoring the forthcoming Miami Cooks cookbook out in 2020. Her current outlets include Modern Luxury publications, Condé Nast Traveler and WHERE magazine.