Salvador Dalí Museum

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Salvador Dalí Museum
St. Pete Dali Museum03.jpg
The Salvador Dalí Museum pictured in 2011
Salvador Dalí Museum is located in Florida
Salvador Dalí Museum
Location within Florida
LocationSt. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
Coordinates27°45′58″N 82°37′53″W / 27.7660°N 82.6315°W / 27.7660; -82.6315Coordinates: 27°45′58″N 82°37′53″W / 27.7660°N 82.6315°W / 27.7660; -82.6315
TypeArt museum
Structural EngineerWalter P. Moore & Associates Inc.

The Salvador Dalí Museum is an art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, dedicated to the works of Salvador Dalí. It houses the largest collection of Dalí's works outside Europe. It is located on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront by 5th Avenue Southeast, Bay Shore Drive, and Dan Wheldon Way. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.[1]


The old Salvador Dalí Museum facility

Shortly before marrying in 1942, Reynolds and Eleanor Morse attended a Dalí retrospective at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Intrigued by the artist's subject matter, and impressed by his draftsmanship, they bought their first painting a year later. This purchase began a 40-year relationship as patrons and friends of Dalí that resulted in a comprehensive collection of original Dalí work.[2]

Until 1971, the Morses displayed their collection in their Cleveland, Ohio, home. When they loaned over 200 pieces to a Dalí retrospective in 1965, they realized that 25 years of collecting produced a mini-retrospective that needed a permanent home.

Salvador Dalí's signature as seen on the outside of the museum

In March 1971, with Salvador Dalí presiding over the opening, the Morses opened a museum adjacent to their office building in Beachwood, Ohio.[3] By the end of the decade with an overwhelming number of visitors, the Morses decided to again move their collection.

After a drawn out search which drew national attention, a marine warehouse in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida was rehabilitated and the museum opened on March 7, 1982.[3]

The Salvador Dalí Museum picture from the side

In mid-2008, a new location for the Dali museum was announced. Designed by Yann Weymouth of the architectural firm HOK and built by The Beck Group[4] under the leadership of then-CEO Henry C. Beck III, it was built on the downtown waterfront next to the Mahaffey Theater, on the former site of the Bayfront Center, an arena which had been demolished in 2004.

The new, larger and more storm-secure museum opened on January 11, 2011.

Reportedly costing over $30 million,[5] the surrealism-inspired structure[6] features a large glass entryway and skylight[7] made of 1.5 inch thick glass. Referred to as the "Enigma", the glass entryway is 75 feet tall and encompasses a spiral staircase.[7] The remaining walls are composed of 18-inch thick concrete, designed to protect the collection from hurricanes.[8]

Atrium with spiral staircase

The Museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM)[9] and of the North American Reciprocal Museums program.[10]


The museum features a variety of different events for families to attend. Some events include performances, workshops, films, lectures, different types of fundraising, and food & drink events. Many previous events have allowed members to participate in handmade holiday card workshops where participants created their very own holiday card including a Dalí theme. In addition, there has been various poetry performances which have occurred every Thursday of the month, and lectures such as, coffee with a curator, a presentation on a theme-oriented topic that discusses a variety of topics in relation to Dalí.[11]


The museum's collection includes 96 oil paintings, over 100 watercolors and drawings, 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objets d'art, and an extensive archival library.[12] The Museum Library contains over 7,000 volumes, exhibition and sale catalogs, video, sound recordings, and special collections related to Dalí's life, Surrealism, and the Avant-garde. The library also holds the donated collection of Albert Field, New York collector and Dalí archivist.[13] Recently, the museum opened a new exhibit named Dali Lives, which uses artificial intelligence for visors to experience an interactive modern day Dali.[14] Permanent collection displays are periodically rotated, and several temporary shows are mounted each year.

The museum is home to 7 of the 18 "masterwork" paintings by Dalí (including The Hallucinogenic Toreador and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus), the most of any museum in the world. To be considered a masterwork these paintings must measure at least 5 feet (1.5 m) in any direction, and have been worked on for over a year.[15]

In addition to displaying the work of Dalí, the museum aims to educate the public and promote understanding, enjoyment and scholarly examination of art through the exhibition of works by Dalí and artists of similar vision.

With the exception of the Dalí Theater-Museum created by Dalí himself in his home town of Figueres, Catalonia, St. Petersburg's Dalí Museum has the world's largest collections of Dalí's works.[16]

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the Salvador Dalí Museum made their gallery available for viewing online.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places
  2. ^ "An enduring friendship helped make the Salvador Dali Museum possible". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  3. ^ a b Wach, Kenneth (1996). Salvador Dalí: masterpieces from the collection of the Salvador Dalí Museum. New York: Harry N. Abrams. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-8109-3235-0.
  4. ^ "Salvador Dali Museum". The Beck Group. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  5. ^ Adam, Georgina (2011). "Spanish royal seal of approval for Dalí's Florida Home". Art Newspaper. 20 (221): 16.
  6. ^ "Timeline". Salvador Dali Museum. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  7. ^ a b Post, Nadine M. (5 January 2011). "Salvador Dalí Museum by HOK Opens This Month in Florida". Architectural record. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  8. ^ De Monchaux, Thomas (March 2011). "Truly Surreal". Architect. 100 (3): 72, 74–5.
  9. ^ "A Higher Standard: The Museum Accreditation Program" (PDF). March 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-24. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  10. ^ "North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Program" (PDF). June 15, 2012. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Permanent Collection Archives - Unparalleled collection of Salvador Dali art works". Unparalleled collection of Salvador Dali art works. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  13. ^ "Museum Library". Salvador Dalí Museum. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Dalí's Masterworks in Augmented Reality". Salvador Dalí Museum. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  16. ^ Remos, Ana B. "Dali Museum: The Best Kept Secret in Florida". Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  17. ^ "Destination: The Dali". The Dali Museum. Hullfilm. Retrieved 2 April 2020.

External links[edit]