The Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Museum of Contemporary Art) is a joint endeavour of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, the Christoph Merian Foundation and the Canton of Basel-Stadt. Opened in 1980, the Museum für Gegenwartskunst that is run by the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel was the first museum in the world dedicated exclusively to contemporary art.
It owes its existence to a donation by Maja Sacher-Stehlin, founder of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, her family and the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation itself. The leasehold properties belonging to the Canton of Basel-Stadt were made available to the museum by the Christoph Merian Stiftung. The 19th-century paper factory was converted and provided with a new wing by architects Katharina and Wilfrid Steib. In 2005 the museum was comprehensively overhauled and renovated by the Canton of Basel-Stadt and the Christoph Merian Stiftung (architect: Urs Gramelsbacher).
The Museum für Gegenwartskunst displays contemporary art from the collections of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation and the Kunstmuseum. Since 2003, all holdings of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation that are not on show are housed in the Schaulager. In addition to changing presentations of the collection, which are kept in dialogue with the Museums exhibition activities, the Museum für Gegenwartskunst regularly schedules lectures and discussions on aspects of contemporary art, guided tours and commentated viewings of selected pieces. This underscores the Museums desire to serve as a platform for the exchange of ideas and laboratory for the multifarious forms of contemporary art production and practice.