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The City Commission will be discussing this issue at the September 13th City Commission meeting at a time certain of 2:00PM. The item was added to the agenda by Commissioner Rhonda Anderson.
If one is seeking to find information on Coral Gables history, there is only one place to find it, the Coral Gables Museum.
Since 2011, the Museum has housed a permanent exhibit titled, Creating the Dream; George E. Merrick and his Vision for Coral Gables. Now, the Museum has announced it will be closing the exhibit on October 1st.
In a statement on a press release that was forwarded to Gables Insider by a resident, Executive Director Elvis Fuentes stated that, “we are taking a painful yet necessary step. This exhibition is one of the finest intellectual products of beloved historian Arva Moore Parks, and it is a privilege that we can still see it after eleven years. However, we need to do what is best for the preservation of the museum’s holdings. We are first and foremost caretakers of the treasures in our collection. It is not advisable to have objects on view for such a long period of time without risking them getting deteriorated. We will assess the state of the objects that have been on view for over a decade, so we can determine what needs to be treated or restored. We are aware of the tremendous importance of this exhibition to the community, which is why we are documenting it and translating it into a digital 360-degree tour that will be accessible online and in the museum after we complete the much-needed renovation of the galleries.”
But members of the community who have reached out to Gables Insider are concerned that this is the first step in a transformation from a Museum that primarily focuses on Coral Gables History, to one that primarily focuses on art.
“It is unclear to me whether the artifacts will ever be exhibited once again after the assessment or whether the exhibit will remain digital,” stated one member of the community in a call with Gables Insider.
The press release explains that, “the Permanent Collection Galleries will close for renovations on October 1st, and will partially reopen with the exhibition, Mediterranean Architecture of Coral Gables, on October 7th.” This will be in the form of sketches by University of Miami students, from 2015, of buildings the Museum has determined to be Mediterranean.
Calls to Fuentes for further clarification were unanswered.
You can watch Gables Insider’s tour of the museum and this exhibit in January 2020 by clicking here.