The city of St. Petersburg, Fla., has three outstanding museums to explore, all located along the waterfront: the well established Museum of Fine Arts, the much awaited Chihuly Collection housed in a brand new museum and the even newer spectacular building that houses the Salvador Dali Museum, which opened to the public on an auspicious date, Jan. 11, 2011 or 1/11/11.

The Museum of Fine Arts on the waterfront at Beach Street was ending a fine exhibit of American Impressionists when I was there in January. A new show coming in March will feature floral arrangements called Art in Bloom.

The wonderful glass artwork of the world famous artist Dale Chihuly is now housed in its own museum, a long awaited place to house a permanent collection of his unique creations. Located also on Beach Street near the Museum of Fine Arts, the works are presented and owned by the Morean Arts Center of St. Petersburg with 16 large installations and thousands of pieces of glass made by the artisans.

Dale Chihuly was born in 1941 and is still active in the design and creation of his works. He has exhibited all over the world, and has work in every famous museum. His most dramatic pieces, called Chandeliers, were shown in 1999 in Italy where the large teardrop designs were suspended over the canals and plazas of Venice.

A huge, beautiful deep blue chandelier is one of the first things you see when you enter the exhibit, with some other pieces ranging from 3 to 30 feet and having hundreds of pieces making up the design. A new ruby red piece was created especially for this collection, displayed in a room alone.

Chihuly’s drawings are featured in the show, large colorful paintings done on paper, the inspiration for many of his glass pieces coming from these drawings. There is a gallery store and a 30-seat theater at the museum.

A spectacular addition to the St. Petersburg waterfront is the dramatic new museum housing the work of famous Spanish artist Salvatore Dali. Its modern design includes glass domes and thick walls, designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes. The museum in the city which previously housed Dali’s works is now closed.

This new gallery better able to display his work, including the famous painting of watches that seem to be melting and his huge works that are better displayed here. This new $36 million Dali Museum is expected to add to the city’s economy, a major new attraction to bring tourists from around the world.

The Chihuly Museum has also become a major attraction and in honor of its opening the Museum of Fine Arts presented an exhibit called 2,000 Years of Glass, with outstanding works in glass displayed.

June Griffin is a freelance writer who lives in Lewiston.