The Basel museums encompass a series of museums in the city of Basel, Switzerland, and the neighboring region. They represent a broad spectrum of collections with a marked concentration in the fine arts and house numerous holdings of international significance. With at least three dozen institutions, not including the local history collections in the surrounding communities, the region offers an extraordinarily high density of museums compared to other metropolitan areas of similar size. They draw some one and a half million visitors annually.
Constituting an essential and defining component of Basel culture and cultural policy, the museums are the result of closely interwoven private and public collecting activities and promotion of arts and culture going back to the 16th century. The public museums of the canton of Basel-City arose from the 1661 purchase of the private Amerbach Cabinet by the city and the University of Basel and thus represent the oldest civic museum collection in continuous existence. Since the 1980s, a number of collections have been made public in new purpose-built structures that have achieved renown as acclaimed examples of avant-garde museum architecture.
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