The Bass Museum of Art started back in 1963 when John and Johanna Bass donated their extensive art collection to the city of Miami Beach. The gift was given with the understanding that the works would stay in the Museum permanently. The building where the museum is located used to be a public library, and was the first public place in Miami where people could go to view works of art. Since then, it has continued its tradition of enriching the city's cultural landscape by obtaining exhibits on loan from museums all over the world, in keeping with it's mission statement.
The museum is one of many Florida attractions that keep tourists coming back year after year, while serving the city of Miami's artistic community. The Bass Museum was placed on the National Register of Historic sites back in 1978, one of many places here to be included on the list. The formal gardens that make up the museum's landscaping add to its appeal. Outdoor exhibition spaces add to the structure's charm as well. The structure was redesigned in an expansion project that more the doubled the space available to its pieces. The project started in 1998 and completed in 2002. The original collection donated has now grown to over 3,000 works of art. Among the artists featured there are Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Sir Thomas Lawrence and more. Works included in the permenant collection ranged in style from Renaissance and Baroque painting, photography, Japanese woodblock prints, Korean objects, and sculptures from Latin America as well as the Caribbean. The Museum also is home to some Rembrant works on paper. Guests can also see the evolution of Miami Beach through photographic displays.
That is not all they offer, though. The Bass Museum of Art is home to lectures, films, music and dance performances and educational programs. There are also temporary exhibits that stop at the museum from all over the world. One of the latest is "The Private Jade Collection of Her Imperial Highness Princess Thi-nga of Vietnam." These rare Jade sculptures date back 200 years and are being shown publically for the first time. If you want to catch it, the exhibit will only be there until April 29th, so don't wait! Another of the new exhibits consist of the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, whose life was made into a movie starring Salma Hayek.
Some upcoming exhibits include "¡Azúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz." This show documents the life of the legendary Cuban singer through personal documents, pictures, costumes, music and more. Fans of the singer will definitely want to catch this, as it also displays items from her childhood as well. The show debuted in Washington and will run at the Bass Museum from May 17th to May 18th.
The museum is open every day except for Mondays and holidays and offers guided tours. Groups who want to take a tour and learn about the pieces that call the Bass Museum home should make a reservation two weeks in advance to ensure they'll be able to get in.