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MDC’s Museum of Art + Design Presents Imagining La Florida Multimedia Exhibition


Miami, May 20, 2013 - The Miami Dade College (MDC) Museum of Art + Design (MOAD) and Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), in collaboration with España Florida Foundation and Centro Cultural Español in Miami, present Imagining La Florida: Juan Ponce de León and the Quest for the Fountain of Youth,  opening at noon Friday, May 31, at the College's National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower in downtown Miami. This multi-media exhibition, free and open to the public, is presented to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de León's arrival on Florida's East Coast.     

Imagining La Florida highlights Florida's history between the expedition of Juan Ponce de León in 1513 and the building of Fort Mose in 1739. Starting with the 1513 expedition of Juan Ponce de León, through to the founding of San Agustín by Pedro Menéndez de Aviles, the exhibition recounts initial interactions between Native Americans, Europeans and Africans, emphasizing their contribution to the formation of a new society in Florida, and the myth behind the infamous Fountain of Youth.

"Imagining La Florida offers visitors a new perspective on the rich, yet long-forgotten history of colonial Florida. It is designed to open eyes and minds, highlighting one of the most intriguing and dramatic periods in U.S. history," said Imagining La Florida curator J. Michael Francis. 

The exhibition is structured in four sections. In the first part, visitors enter a replica Spanish galleon preparing to depart to the New World. They learn about navigational instruments, the technology and the range of occupations associated with such expeditions. The second part focuses on decades of successive Spanish expeditions that went far into the southeast region of the U.S., but despite great efforts, failed. Section three expands on the interaction between Native Americans, Europeans and Africans in new society in Florida, since the founding of the first Spanish permanent settlement (1565) until the building of the first fort with a garrison of free Africans, slaves who had run away from the British colonies (1738). The fourth part is about the myth of the Fountain of Youth, since its first expressions in the 16th Century until the modern ones in popular culture.

Imagining La Florida will remain on display through August 17. Museum hours are: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 pm. Admission is free and tours are available. 

About MDC's Museum of Art + Design

MDC Museum of Art + Design is Miami Dade College's flagship institution dedicated to the presentation and exhibition of visual art and design, located within the historic MDC Freedom Tower in downtown Miami. With a mission to promote the appreciation and understanding of art and its role in society through direct engagement, original works of art, design, and related creative processes; the Museum provides residents and visitors access to unique cultural, historical, and educational exhibitions that enrich our community, while building and preserving its expansive permanent art collection.

Imagining La Florida: Juan Ponce de León and the Quest for the Fountain of Youth

  • WHEN: Friday, May 31, 12:00 PM - Saturday, Aug. 17, 5:00 PM
  • WHERE: MDC’s Freedom Tower 600 Biscayne Blvd.

For more information about this exhibition, please contact the MDC Museum of Art + Design at 305-237-7700, or


Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366,, media specialist
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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