The Historic Collin County Courthouse, originally built in 1875 and completely remodeled in 1927, was vacated in 1979 upon completion of the new Collin County Courthouse. The Historic Courthouse is now the centerpiece of the Downtown McKinney Commercial Historic District and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Plans for rehabilitation of the historic facility began with a series of community forums to secure citizen input and evaluate the building's potential use and programming. In October 2003, work started to re-craft the courthouse as a cultural center, funded with an initial investment of $6,500,000 from the McKinney Community Development Corporation.
The MPAC has distinguished McKinney as a regional leader in supporting the arts and cultivating a unique cultural community along with generating economic development.