The Museum was founded in 1966, with a core collection of works acquired as a result of the city’s art prize, the Premio Nazionale Arti Visive, established in 1950.
In December 2009 the City of Gallarate established the Foundation of the Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Gallarate to administer the Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Municipal Gallery of Modern Art) of Gallarate, on the basis of an agreement signed by the Culture Minister and the Mayor of Gallarate. The founding partners were the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and the City of Gallarate, with the Lombardy Region and the Province of Varese as institutional partners. The mission of the Foundation is to manage the activities of the museum: the conservation and enhancement of the works in the collection, organization of exhibitions and cultural events and creative activities and training for schools and adult audiences. Following this institutional development, the Museum, historically known as the Galleria Civica d'ArteModerna di Gallarate, on March 19, 2010, acquired the name of the MAGA Museo Arte Gallarate and inaugurates the new museum in Via De Magri, specially designed to showcase its collections and cultural activities.