MIAMI– HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is proud to announce it is the recipient of the American Association for State and Local History’s Award of Merit for its powerful and moving exhibition Operation Pedro Pan: The Cuban Children’s Exodus.

The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 70th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.  The awards are presented to organizations and museums that demonstrate excellence for projects ranging from civic engagement to exhibits and educational programs.

“HistoryMiami is honored and humbled to receive the Award of Merit for our Operation Pedro Pan exhibition,” Stuart Chase, CEO/President of HistoryMiami Museum. “Our team worked tirelessly to create an exhibition that truly told the story of courage and strength of the thousands of Cuban boys and girls who left their homeland to come to the United States. Daily, visitors of the exhibition were brought to tears by their story of bravery.”

Operation Pedro Pan, displayed from June 26th 2015 thru January 17th 2016, documented the emotional journey of 14,000 children and their families who were part of what became the largest recorded child refugee exodus in the Western Hemisphere, which lasted from 1960-1962.  Faced with the gut-wrenching decision, parents sent their children to the United States in an attempt to escape the communist government and the persecution of Catholics.  Operation Pedro Pan took visitors on the children’s journey from Cuba to Miami and beyond, offering a glimpse of the children’s past and the camps they lived in once they reached the United States.

Apart from artifacts, the Museum also created “a fishbowl display” that was a reconstruction of a glass room where authorities would confine Cuban children before they would leave the country. It was the last place they would see their parents. The display emphasized the pain, suffering, and fear that these children were put through as they made their way to the U.S.

The 5000 square foot exhibition was presented in partnership with Operation Pedro Pan Group, Inc., the organization that connects the children of the Pedro Pan exodus and preserves its artifacts and memories. The Museum also received a $300,000 grant from the State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs.

This is HistoryMiami’s second Merit Award in three years.  The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) honored HistoryMiami with the 2013 Award of Merit and a 2013 History in Progress (HIP) Award from the AASLH Leadership in History Awards committee, for The Guayabera: A Shirt’s Story exhibition. The Leadership in History Awards is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of history and brings public recognition to small and large organizations, institutions, and programs that make contributions in this arena.

Located at 101 West Flagler Street in downtown Miami, HistoryMiami Museum is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with ID, $5 for children ages 6-12, and free for children under the age of 6. Discounted Parking with validation is available at the Miami-Dade Cultural Center Parking Garage, 50 NW 2nd Avenue.

About HistoryMiami Museum

HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is the premier cultural institution committed to gathering, organizing, preserving and celebrating Miami’s history as the unique crossroads of the Americas. We accomplish this through education, collections, research, exhibitions, publications and city tours. Located in the heart of downtown Miami, HistoryMiami Museum is a 70,000 square foot facility and home to more than one million historical images and 30,000 three-dimensional artifacts, including a 1920’s trolley car, artifacts from Pan American World Airways, and rafts that brought refugees to Miami. For more information, call 305-375-1492 or visit