Incorporated in the state of Texas on September 14, 1950, the Beaumont Art Museum was originally housed on the lower floor of a two-story rented house on Calder Avenue in Beaumont. In September of 1956, the S. Perry Brown family donated funds to build a facility on the Southeast Texas State Fairgrounds, which now houses the Beaumont Art League. In 1969, the family of J. Crooke Wilson donated their estate to the City of Beaumont for the purpose of housing the Beaumont Art Museum.
On September 10, 1987, after completing a comprehensive capital drive which brought in $4.2 million, the Beaumont Art Museum was re-born as the Art Museum of Southeast Texas and found its current home at 500 Main Street in downtown Beaumont.
AMSET’s collection consists of approximately 1,000 works of art (painting, sculpture, prints, photographs, folk and decorative arts) of the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries, with an emphasis on American art, and a growing regional collection of folk art.
AMSET hosts eight to ten exhibitions each year, some of which are organized in-house and travel on to other venues. Exhibits of note include Oil Patch Dreams, an exhibit designated to be the statewide kickoff event for the governor-appointed “Spindletop 2001” celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Spindletop oil boom in Beaumont. Natural Histories: A Survey of Photographs by Keith Carter showcased the career of internationally renowned Beaumont photographer Keith Carter. John Alexander: 35 Years of Works on Paper was a drawing retrospective exhibition focusing on internationally celebrated artist and Beaumont native John Alexander. In 2004, AMSET presented Twang: Contemporary Texas Sculpture, curated by C. Sean Horton. In 2006, AMSET presented Paul Manes: The Big Big Picture Show, an exhibit of works by a former Beaumont resident who has gone on to great acclaim in the art world.