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Dive Into Diversity

Institutions offer embracement and education in South Florida.

For LGBTQ Pride Month in June, we’ve crafted a list of diversity museums and a library offering a glimpse into the diverse cultural groups that form the fabric of South Florida.

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki (Seminole) Museum

Website: www.ahtahthiki.com

Address: Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, 30290 Josie Billie Hwy, PMB, Clewiston 33440

Phone: (877) 902-1113)

Getting to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki (Seminole Museum) typically includes a scenic drive along curvy Snake Road from Interstate 75 to the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Hendry County.

The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki has diversity and inclusion built into its mission: Respect, Celebrate and Preserve Seminole Culture and History. The museum’s collections include historical newspapers, manuscripts, patchwork clothing, baskets, dolls, militaria and various pieces of ephemera produced during the 20th century. Part of the collection can be viewed online at https://semtribe.pastperfectonline.com/

One of the most popular tours includes an orientation film, gallery tour and boardwalk tour. Picnic tables are available and there are dining establishments nearby.

The museum strives to be inclusive throughout its hiring practices, public programming and gallery spaces. The museum is continually striving to improve the diversity of staff, whether by prioritizing Seminole applicants or by welcoming a variety of genders, ages and abilities to its team. The public events and programming are as appealing to the local community as they are to international visitors.

Inclusion of a diverse audience is also ensured through print and online publications. A quarterly magazine, (the AQ), and monthly articles in the Tribe’s newspaper, the Seminole Tribune, reach other people who want more information about the museum’s collections, programs and exhibits.

More information on Seminole culture also may be found at https://www.semtribe.com/.

The African American Research Library and Cultural Center

Website: www.broward.org

Address: 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311

Phone: (954) 357-6282

The AARLCC was founded in 2002 and is a flagship library within the Broward County Library system. It is an anchor institution providing a stabilizing and educational presence within the Sistrunk Corridor in Northwest Fort Lauderdale, a historic black neighborhood. The mission of AARLCC is to collect, preserve and provide access to resources focusing on the history and culture of people of African, African American and Caribbean descent.

AARLCC is a unique combination of an archive, a library serving youth and adults and a cultural center with a 300-seat auditorium. Some of its signature programs include the Africana Arts & Humanities Festival, the Ashley Bryan Art Series, AARLCC-CON, and its Soulful Christmas Holiday Celebration.

AARLCC’s existence is a realization for the need for diversity and inclusion as it concerns to preservation of historical records and literature on the experience of African-descended people. It is the site of the Book Sanctuary, a program of Broward County Library, and it hosts the Saturday School Series, where teens and adults can come once a month for free black history lessons. 

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Website: https://morikami.org/

Address: 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach 33446

Phone: (561) 495-0233)

The Morikami includes a traditional Japanese house and beautiful gardens. It is named after Sukeji “George” Morikami, who was a pioneering immigrant farmer in the area.

Situated in Delray Beach, the museum exemplifies a deep commitment to cultural diversion and inclusion through its concerted efforts to educate the public about Japanese culture and history. This institution acts as a conduit between various cultures, providing visitors with an insightful look into Japan’s rich heritage through carefully cultivated exhibitions, events and educational programs.

A primary facet of Morikami’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident in its programming strategy. It organizes a diverse array of events and programs specifically designed to encourage participation from a multicultural audience, thereby enriching the visitor experience with inclusive, culturally immersive activities.

Through these concerted efforts, the museum and Japanese Gardens not only highlights the elegance of Japanese culture but cultivates a forum for cultural dialogue and mutual respect.

Museum of Discovery and Science

Website: mods.org

Address: 401 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale 33312

Phone: (954) 713-0930

While it’s known for its IMAX AutoNation 3T theater and engaging interactive exhibits, MODS also exemplifies embracement. through numerous initiatives.

 MODS hosts Free Sensory-Friendly Sundays on the last Sunday of each month, sponsored by the ABA Centers of Florida, offering free admission and early access. This includes a sensory-friendly IMAX experience, and sensory-adapted activities conducted by staff.

 The museum is physically accessible, featuring elevators with Braille, wheelchair-accessible facilities, and restrooms with changing stations. Auditory accommodations in the IMAX theater include volume control devices and closed captioning. Sign language tours available upon request.

Additionally, MODS hosts annual signature events like the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Celebration, and the free Family Pride Celebration, which includes a variety of pride-themed activities. 

Spady Cultural Heritage Museum

Website: www.spadymuseum.com

Address: 170 NW 5th Ave.

Delray Beach 33444

Phone: (561) 279-8883

The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum’s mission is to preserve and share black history. It is located in an historic home built and occupied by the family of Solomon D. Spady, a black educator and activist who lived in Delray Beach from the 1920s through the 1950s. It also includes an adjacent 1930s craftsman cottage.

In both these historic structures, staff hosts exhibitions, educational programs, and community events that welcome people from all cultures and walks of life to learn about the contributions of African- and Caribbean Americans to American Society.

The museum has garnered a well-earned reputation for creating safe spaces for people to make connections, uncover inspiration and be authentically themselves.

As visitors, residents, students, artists, teachers and tourists explore the museum, they experience a good place, where curiosity and creativity thrive.

The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum literally has an open seat outside its doors, painted in the vibrant patterns of Ghanian kente cloth. The seat is an invitation to stop, breathe, look and think about the historical and artistic concepts that await inside.

Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library

Website: stonewall-museum.org

Address: 1300 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale 33304

Phone: (954) 763-8565

Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library’s core belief is that every story from within the community needs to be told, protected and shared. At Stonewall this is done by providing gallery space for those who have been historically marginalized within their community and from the general population, and have them, in their own words, curate an exhibit the museum can help share with the world.

The museum’s programs are often in partnership with organizations that have different perspectives and foster greater understanding and a broader view of community needs.

The Stonewall Museum leaders feel the rainbow flag is an opportunity to invite everyone under the flag, no matter whom you love.

Editor’s Note: As part of its SFBW Agenda Diversity and Embracement section, SFBW compiled a list of museums and a library that provide insight into some of the multicultural groups that make up South Florida. There is also an example of a museum that embraces those with sensory sensitivities. If you know of a museum that should be added to our list, please email SFBW Group Editor-in-Chief Kevin Gale at kgale@LMGFL.com

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.