FIU has announced another gift from Wolfsonian founder Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. This new gift significantly strengthens the museum’s singular collection and expands its physical presence to downtown Miami.
The gift includes three floors in an office building on Flagler Street, in the heart of downtown, along with a gift of approximately 25,000 objects, rare books, works-on-paper, and archives that complement and enhance the museum’s collection of modern visual and material culture. The gift comes at a pivotal time for The Wolfsonian, as it enters the next phase of growth as a major cultural institution with holdings that are the strongest of their kind.
“I can’t say how reassuring it is for me to know that these materials are in such safe hands,” said Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. “I have always intended to share the collection. Only a great institution like The Wolfsonian and its collaborators can really probe the true depth of what’s been collected. I am thrilled to turn it over to The Wolfsonian and Florida International University.”
The three floors in the new Wolfsonian downtown Miami space comprise twenty thousand square feet. The objects have been collected by Wolfson over the course of the past sixteen years, since he donated The Wolfsonian (the collection and its historic Miami Beach site) to FIU in 1997. Wolfson collected during those years in consultation with curators and librarians at the museum, focusing on materials that would strengthen and deepen the museum’s holdings. The new downtown space will enable the museum to build on its education and research offerings and offer a qualitatively different way of engaging with the collection. The Wolfsonian will remain headquartered in Miami Beach with plans to vastly expand its offerings there.
“Once again, FIU benefits from the generosity of Micky Wolfson,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “Micky continues to demonstrate his trust in FIU as an institution, and we could not be more pleased with the gift or more proud to receive it and share it.”
This gift coincides with a period of growth for The Wolfsonian and is aligned with the five-year plan the institution adopted in January 2013, which triggered a major grant of $5 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in support of greater public access to the collection.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for The Wolfsonian,” said advisory board chairman Neil Flanzraich. “This gift is so generous, and so well-timed. As we move forward to further develop the museum’s potential to better serve local and global communities, the expansion in terms of both the collection and the real estate could not be more welcome.”