The heart of the Museum was the building which housed the town's theatre when Dali was a child, and where one of the first public exhibitions of young Dalí's art was shown. The old theater was bombed in the Spanish Civil War and remained in a state of ruin for decades until Dalí and the mayor of Figueres decided to rebuild it as a museum dedicated to the town's most famous son in 1960. The museum also occupies buildings and couryards adjacent to the old theater building.
The museum opened in 1974, with continuing expansions through the mid 1980s. It houses the single largest and most diverse collection of works by Salvador Dali, the heart of which was from the artist's own collection. In addition to Dalí paintings large and small from all decades of his carrer, there are Dalí sculptures, 3-dimensional collages, mechanical devices, a living-room with custom furnature that looks like the face of Mae West when viewed from a certain spot, and other curiosities from Dalí's immagination.
The museum also houses a small selection of works by other artists collected by Dalí, ranging from El Greco to Marcel Duchamp, and a gallery devoted to the work of Dalí's friend and fellow Catalan artist Antoni Pixot.
Dalí is buried in a crypt in the Theater-Museum's basement.