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Where It All Began: Heritage Tourism Visitors Center in the Middle of Metropolis

Dade Heritage Trust, in the heart of Brickell, is Miami’s largest historic preservation organization, with a mission to preserve Miami-Dade County’s architectural, cultural and environmental heritage. Housed in a one-story, wood frame building that was the original 1905 office of Dr. James Jackson, the organization, under the leadership of new Executive Director Christine Rupp, is anxious to build relationships with the residents, visitors and businesses of Brickell.

“I love the buzz of Brickell”, said Ms. Rupp. “The neighborhood offers so many opportunities to educate and enlighten the community about Miami’s history and the importance of the mission of Dade Heritage Trust. It’s no secret that preservation is tough in Miami because everyone is from somewhere else; so, they naturally don’t have that sense of community ownership or history of the place that is now home.”

The location of the Dade Heritage Trust headquarters and its uniqueness in this vast area of high-rises sets it apart and makes passers-by curious about “what happens in there.”

“Recently,” said Rupp, “the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau designated the 1905 Dade Heritage Trust office as an Official Heritage Tourism Visitors Center. “The Bureau recognizes the value in our location and our mission to educate people about Miami’s heritage.”

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Dr. Jackson’s Office

The lovely building, at the corner of SE 12 Terrace and Brickell Bay Drive also houses two gallery spaces, a preservation library and a room dedicated to Dr. Jackson, with an exhibit of an early Miami doctor’s office.

“Our office is very warm and welcoming and our exhibits represent art and topics that support our mission,” said Rupp. “Exhibits this year have included Office Evolution: From Dr. Jackson to Dade Heritage Trust and LemonCity/Little Haiti: as sense of time…a sense of place.”

In April, a new exhibit featuring works from Miami-Dade County Public School students made its debut. The exhibit, called FIND YOUR PARK presents student works submitted to Dade Heritage Trust’s Annual Art and Photography Contest.  This year’s contest theme was based on South Florida’s four National Parks and the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service.  In June, Dade Heritage Trust will present a new exhibit entitled Stiltsville: Life on the Flats.

Dade Heritage Trust also presents a Bike and Walking Tour Program. Every Saturday morning at 10 a.m., guests can enjoy an hour-long guided walking tour focusing on the past, present and future of Brickell with information on the environment, architecture and archaeology of the neighborhood.  On the second Sunday of each month, the Trust, in partnership with Green Mobility Network and Brickell Bikes, is offering guided, family-friendly bike tours to a different destination every month.  Four City of Miami Parks are featured on the tour:  Simpson, Jose Marti, Lummus and Brickell, with a guided tour at every stop.  Tours are $10 or $5 for Dade Heritage Trust members and kids.

Dade Heritage Trust also engages Brickell families with camps at school break times and educational tours for school groups in partnership with the MDCPS Museums Magnet Program.

Check out dadeheritagetrust.org for the latest details.  Brickell neighbors are invited to contact Ms. Rupp by calling 305-358-9572 or by email: chris@dadeheritagetrust.org.

From BHA News Spring 2016.