MDC Museum of Art + Design

The Freedom Tower overlooks the Port of Miami in 1943

The Freedom Tower overlooks the Port of Miami in 1943

The Freedom Tower In Time

1925

The Miami News completes construction of the building, its new headquarters.

1957

The newspaper vacates the building for different headquarters.

1962

The building reopens as a processing center for refugees, who dub it the "Freedom Tower."

1974

The U.S. government closes the Cuban Refugee Emergency Center.

1976

The building is purchased by New York lawyer Sam Polur.

1978

Citibank Corp. buys the property.

1981

Ownership transfers hands again, this time to Southeast Bank Trust. The building sits unoccupied, suffers vandalism and is left in disrepair.

1987

The building is bought by Zaminco International, a Saudi Arabian consortium with plans for a luxury office building and banquet hall. The first major renovation begins.

1997

Cuban American National Foundation founder Jorge Mas Canosa acquires the property and plans to convert it into a monument for Cuban refugees. The second major renovation begins in 2000 under the direction of Canosa's son, Jorge Mas Santos.

2004

The Freedom Tower is sold to the Pedro Martin family.

2005

The Pedro Martin family graciously donates the Freedom Tower to Miami Dade College.

2008

The restored building earns the much-deserved designation as a National Historic Landmark.

2012

Miami Dade College establishes the MDC Museum of Art + Design, a 15,000 square foot exhibition space on the second floor and relocates administrative offices of Miami International Film Festival and MDC Live Arts to form a fully operational cultural center in Downtown Miami.

2014

Miami Dade College inaugurates the opening of the Cuban Exile Experience & Cuban Diaspora Cultural Legacy Gallery.