Forty trees including historic oaks, gumbo limbos and strangler figs were donated to the site of the future Pérez Art Museum Miami began on Tuesday.
The trees, which ranged from 25 to 150 years old, were relocated from the grounds of the Brickell CitiCentre construction site after they were donated by Swire Properties.
Arborist Lisa Hammer is overseeing the excavation and the loading the giant trees onto a barge to transport them through the Miami River to the future location of the museum.
Hammer determined the best ways to excavate the trees without causing them harm or shock, Swire Properties said.
"I was responsible for making sure the trees had enough water, no symptoms of stress, and giving the trees treatments that were deemed necessary, such as fertilizer," said Hammer, who has been practicing for 25 years and has a master's degree from Florida International University.
She will continue to monitor the maintenance of the trees for one year.
Their new home is expected to open in 2013 as the Pérez Art Museum Miami in Museum Park, which was designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Swire is donating the whole project, which is estimated to cost $500,000.
The new building is three times the size of the art museum's current facility and will have 200,000 square feet of space.
According to the MAM website, the building will have an educational complex that includes a library, cafe, museum store, auditorium, and functional class and workshop space.
The new museum will provide room to showcase growing collections of modern and contemporary art.
Total construction costs have been budgeted at $131 million. To date the museum says it has raised $167 million of its $220 million goal, with $100 million coming from Miami-Dade County bond proceeds and more than $67 million from its capital campaign.