Like many Gilded Age homes, Vizcaya has its share of hidden passages and doors. None of these can be seen during a regular visit or private tour, so the museum has created this special video tour to share its secrets with you.
In Vizcaya’s Secret Doors series, former Deputy Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs Remko Jansonius takes you behind-the-scenes to show you different hidden doors and passages throughout the estate — formerly an exclusive member perk.
Why are there secret doors?
Many historic homes have secret doors or passages for different reasons depending on the time period in which they were built. Many buildings created during the Civil War or during the slave trade have these hidden passages for the purpose hiding people, such as soldiers or runaway slaves. They may also have been used to store weapons or illegal goods.
In the case of Vizcaya, the estate was built Prohibition, which prohibited the sale and production of liquor. Miami was a dry county back then, but Mr. Deering couldn’t celebrate the inauguration of his winter home without some libations. Therefore, we suspect that some of the hidden areas throughout the estate may have been used to store alcohol.
In addition, there are also design-oriented reasons behind some of our secret doors. Symmetry is a very important design element at Vizcaya, so this often mean creating false doors that went nowhere as well as hiding more practical doors, entirely for aesthetics.
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How do I watch the Secret Doors series?
This is the best part! You can take the tour for FREE right from your mobile device or home computer. The entire series is now available on our YouTube channel.
We’re releasing two or three new episodes every week and have a total of 14 episodes fully developed and coming your way.
Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the bell to be notified when new videos drop. Start watching right now through the playlist below.