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Museums to Visit in Palm Beach

A child enjoying the science exhibit

Palm Beach is more than water attractions, luxury homes, and perpetual sunshine. This tropical paradise is rich in history, art, culture, and the wisdom of the ages. In fact, Palm Beach City is known as Florida’s Cultural Capital. These excellent museums and art places show why.

Flagler Museum

The New York Herald praised Whitehall, tycoon Henry Flagler’s impressive Palm Beach estate, as “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world.”

Today, Whitehall is a National Historic Landmark known to everyone as the Flagler Museum. It hosts world-class exhibits that showcase Gilded Age America’s art and culture, tours, and special programs. A museum store sells memorabilia.

In 2022, the museum marked Flag Day by showing an example of the American flag’s 20 versions. The exhibit is ongoing up to the Fourth of July.

Boca Train Express Museum

This cornerstone of art has more than 4,000 works by Demuth, Glackens, Matisse, Picasso and Seurat, excellent 19th and 20th photographs, an array of contemporary paintings and sculpture, and a collection of pre-Columbian and African art. The museum also holds world-class exhibits, educational projects for kids and adults, a year-round art school with more than 80 weekly classes, special events, and curatorial and docent tours.

Norton Museum of Art

The late industrialist Ralph Hubbard Norton and his wife Elizabeth founded this museum in 1941. The museum boasts over 8,200 works in the European, American, Chinese, contemporary, and photography departments. The museum holds solo exhibits of living female painters and sculptors. Its Rudin Prize for Emerging Photographers recognizes budding photographers who don’t have a solo museum exhibit.

Coral Castle

This destination is known for its sculpture garden in stone, which Edward Leedskalnin reportedly built single-handedly from 1923 to1953. The stone garden was said to have been carved from more than 1,100 tons of coral rock. Visitors can tour Coral Castle using audio stands. A nine-ton gate that moves with only one touch of a finger, a Polaris telescope, and working rocking chairs are made of stone.

Holocaust Museum and Cohen Educational Center

The idea for the museum began when middle school students and teachers in Naples, Florida had a classroom exhibit on the Holocaust. The students learned that the Holocaust’s lessons on hate, bigotry, and violence must be shared. Today, the museum and educational center reaches out to more than 15,000 students and 5,000 visitors yearly. Artifacts, photos, educational programs, and exhibits tell stories on the Holocaust and other kinds of genocide.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

This centerpiece of Japanese art and artifacts highlights Japan’s rich, diverse cultural heritage through various exhibits. The gardens have six distinct areas inspired by its counterparts in Japan.

Upcoming events include Family Fun Day: Tanabata, where one can write down a wish on a piece of colored paper and tie it to a Tanabata bamboo branch. Hands-on tea ceremony classes are held twice a week.

Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center

This 57-acre educational center is devoted to the study and restoration of coastal ecosystems. The Oceanographic Society holds physical and virtual field trips, school outreach programs, summer camps, and other educational activities for thousands of students every year. Students can easily access Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River so they are aware of significant issues affecting local waterways. This will train them to become stewards of Florida’s coastal ecosystems.

Children’s Science Explorium

Interactive traveling exhibits, programs, and camps exploring the physical sciences provide hands-on learning in this science center for kids aged five to 12 and their carers. Children learn about rockets, molecules, and other aspects of science. Aside from a 4,000-square-foot area, the place devotes additional space to an indoor classroom and many outdoor teaching areas. Admission is free and donations are welcome.

Bonnet House

This museum not just promotes history and helps the environment. It encourages learning and creativity. Self-guided audio tours of the gardens are in English, Spanish, and German. There are workshops on colored pencil drawings and painting, watercolor, and orchid care. Virtual learning sessions on oyster conservation, mangroves, and making paper snowflakes are available.

Explore five ecosystems, like the Atlantic Ocean beach and primary dune, a freshwater slough and secondary dune which consists of a house site, mangrove wetlands, and maritime forest. A Desert Garden boasts arid plants, a hibiscus garden and courtyard with tropical vegetation.

Boca Raton Museum of Art

This culture hub includes a campus that houses the museum itself and the art school. The museum offers lectures, demonstrations, films, exhibits and musical performances. Visitors get to see 19th to 21st century art, photos, sculpture from Africa, ancient pieces from Latin and South America, pre-Columbian art, contemporary glass and ceramic sculpture, and others.

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