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Immerse yourself in the Salvador Dali Museum

Salvador Dalî Museum tour

With its opening on Jan. 11, 2011, the striking and grand Salvador Dali Museum entered a new era in its home along St. Petersburg’s picturesque waterfront. With almost as much surrealism in its design as the artist’s paintings, the Salvador Dali Museum is a lasting tribute to the artist and to benefactors A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse, whose original benevolence put the city and the Dali Museum on the world map.

It was back in 1943 that the Morses first began collecting Salvador Dali’s paintings, and when they decided to donate their collection – with the stipulation that it be kept intact – St. Petersburg was the only city that saw the potential in having a shrine to the surrealist’s work. The Morses were won over by the proposed site, which reminded them of Dalí’s native Catalonia with its sea and rocks.

The old Dali Museum opened in 1982 and steadily grew in stature. In 2002, Dali’s work The Persistence of Memory was loaned to the museum by the Museum of Modern Art, a measure of the Dalí Museum’s elevated status in the art world.

But the museum needed more space, and security from hurricanes. And so a plan was born to build a new structure further north.

Now a new and bolder Dali Museum has emerged with its gleaming Glass Enigma, a free-standing spiral staircase and numerous other touches that mimic Dali’s works. At last, all 96 Dali paintings in the collection will be on display at once, including such well known works as Daddy Longlegs of the EveningHope!, Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko) and The Hallucinogenic Toreador.

The story of the Salvador Dali Museum is rich in detail and even some intrigue. So take your time and explore our special report to see for yourself why this museum and the surreal artist are now forever entwined with St. Petersburg’s history.

  • St. Petersburg's new home for the Dalí collection is the result of persistence ... and destiny.
    For 28 years, the Dalí Museum has been a star of cultural tourism in Florida, drawing millions of visitors from around the world to a city that had little name recognition among arts lovers before the Dalí's opening in 1982.
  • New Dalí Museum blends practicality, eccentricity
    The best architecture is always a blend of art and science, of designing a building that will remain standing and look good while doing so. In the case of the new Dalí Museum, the blend is seamless and brilliantly conceived. Repetitive forms, especially spirals, are used throughout the museum's grand first floor for a subliminal reference to Dalí's fascination with them and his use of them in his art.
  • Facts reveal a museum like no other
    The new Dalí Museum is eight blocks north of its old site (1000 Third St. S) and is on the downtown waterfront, with a new address: 1 Dalí Blvd.
  • Precious cargo handled with care
    The building has been ready for awhile, but now the main attraction is in place after a crew from Massachusetts moved the collection of Salvador Dalí works half a mile to the new museum.
Visitor resources
Grand opening
History behind the museum
  • Gift to St. Petersburg started with Morses' wedding present
    Though it's named the Dalí Museum, the place could have easily been called the A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse Museum. The Cleveland transplants lovingly and methodically collected work by the Spanish surrealist for 40 years, and then gave their monumental collection to a museum in St. Petersburg dedicated to the artist. Their belief in his genius, even during times when he was held in disfavor by the art world, never wavered and precluded any suggestion that the museum bear any name other than Dalí's.
  • Timeline
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