The Museo del Bonsai was set up when a private collection was offered by Miguel Ángel Garcîa to the then mayor of Marbella Jesús Gil y Gil, to provide material with which to open a municipal museum dedicated to the bonsai tree. The mayor took up this offer in part, having a building expressly built for the purpose of housing the exhibits but preferring that they should remain a private collection. The museum was opened in 1992 under the directorship of Miguel Ángel Garcîa Gil himself.
The museum boasts an extensive collection of permanent exhibits and others which are available for sale. The museum shop stocks specialist bibliography and related products, as well as offering specialist advice on cultivating bonsais. Guided tours, highly recommended for the novice, can be arranged on the premises.
The building itself, which was designed by the architects Carola Herrero and Roberto Osborne, is a fine example of a museum built to suit the particular needs of both the specimens on display therein and the visiting public. It is arranged around a patio covered by pergolas on a pond and features four wings: the first of these (to the south), serves as a reception and ticket-selling area and also features a shop and public conveniences; part of the northern wing and the whole of its western counterpart are devoted to the permanent exhibition; the remainder of the northern wing and the eastern wing are used as a rest area, for transplanting and for other services.
The building is of simple design and has a certain rustic air which is highly appropriate to the exhibits on show at the museum. An interesting solution has been adopted in the rooms themselves, with roofs to provide protection against the sun and rain over the central path used by visitors and close-woven meshing at the sides to allow air and rain to reach the specimens. The ground is covered in gravel with the exception of the visitors’ path, which features a wooden walkway to absorb the water provided by sprinklers located in the ceilings.