The Türr István Museum is a local museum in Northern Bácska, the northern part of the former Bács-Bodrog county, and primarily collects, processes, publishes and presents museum values in this area to visitors.
It was first possible to establish a museum in Baja in 1914. Shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, Frigyes Déri offered his rich universal cultural history collection and library to his hometown. He wanted to build a house of public education, and he bought a plot of land in the city centre, which he donated to Baja. The building would have housed a museum and a library.
Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of the First World War, the implementation of his plan was postponed to the “post-peace” period. However, after the war, Baja came under Serbian occupation in 1919, and Déri withdrew his donation, he did not trust in the uncertain fate of the city and donated his collection to Debrecen.
The birth of the Türr István Museum in Baja was a result of lucky circumstances between the two World Wars, in perhaps the most unproductive period of Hungarian museums. Imre Oltványi (Artinger), an art collector and art writer, played a significant role in the founding of the museum in Baja. By 1936, Oltványi had set up a collection from the major artists of the time, which laid the foundations for the first contemporary Hungarian gallery. (The Oltványi collection mainly includes paintings by the artists of the Gresham Circle, including Jenő Barcsay, Béla Czóbel, József Egry, Noémi Ferenczy, Béla Kádár, János Kmetty, Ödön Márffy and István Szőnyi.)
In the decades before the museum was founded in Baja, private collections were created that collected the works of the artists of modern Hungarian fine art that have now become classics. The art collectors in Baja were also inspired by the presence of István Nagy, who moved to the city in 1930. The major art collections in Baja were created and shaped mainly by the regular and systematic collection of paintings of István Nagy. After the death of the period artist in 1937, the widow donated a collection of 49 works to the gallery in Baja, which became another important core material of the gallery founded at that time. In October 1936, at the same time as the gallery was established, the Baja Legislative Committee decided to establish a museum. Thus, a museum of contemporary art brought the museum to life in Baja.