History of the AJCF Archive & Museum

History of the Diocese of Miami

The Diocese of Miami was established in 1958 and was elevated to an archdiocese ten years later, when Miami was designated an ecclesiastical province. The Archdiocese has played a focal role in the culture and events that have shaped South Florida’s history over the past 60 years. In particular, in its early years, the Diocese saw a tremendous period of early growth fueled by the migration of Cuban refugees beginning in the early 1960s.


History of the Archive & Museum

The Archbishop John C. Favalora Archive & Museum opened its doors on October 2, 2008, to celebrate the Catholic heritage of South Florida. The Archive & Museum is the only Roman Catholic museum devoted to collecting, exhibiting, and making accessible documents and artifacts related to the history of Catholicism in South Florida, where immigrants and the Cuban exodus played a crucial part.


The Archive & Museum was built on the second floor of St. Thomas University Library, taking up to 3,000 square feet of the campus library. St. Thomas University was proud to have its first museum on campus, one that would offer students, visitors, researches, and the community meaningful ways to connect to the rich history of the Catholic Church in South Florida. After construction of the Archive & Museum, the Archdiocese of Miami transferred the custody of many artifacts, hundreds of videos, and over 200,000 documents to St. Thomas University.

The Archive & Museum was named after the third Archbishop of Miami, John Clement Favalora. The archbishop attended the dedication of the museum and was the principal celebrant of the inaugural mass and dedication, along with President of St. Thomas University Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, auxiliary bishops, priests, faculty, staff, students, and over one hundred friends from the community.

The October 2, 2008, inaugural event also marked the opening of the exhibit “United in Faith” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Archdiocese of Miami. The exhibition includes artifacts, photographs, and video recordings selected from the Archive & Museum’s permanent collection and from private collectors and parishes throughout the Archdiocese.


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