The purpose of the Bass Museum of Art is to collect and exhibit the finest art the world has to offer from the past through the present, thereby enriching lives and educating residents and visitors in the City of Miami Beach.
The Bass Museum of Art was established by agreement in 1963 when the City of Miami Beach accepted the gift of the art collection of John and Johanna Bass upon condition that it would maintain the collection in perpetuity, provide for the exhibition of the collections, and keep it open and available to the public. The museum occupies what was originally the Miami Beach Public Library and Art Center, which was designed in 1930 by Russell Pancoast, grandson of Miami Beach pioneer John A. Collins. This was Miami’s first public building with an exhibition space for the fine arts, and it was designed to preserve the symmetry of the formal gardens of Collins Park, which had been donated to the City by Collins and laid out in the 1920s. This building is now the centerpiece of the city’s historic district and was placed on the National Register in 1978.