Varaždin City Museum was founded following the initiative of Varaždin Museum Society and was formally opened for visitors on 16th November 1925 in the premises of the fortress called The Old Town. The basic items of the first permanent exhibition were the objects given to the Museum by renowned Varaždin families.
In the course of the years that followed the holdings got larger and richer and the Museum turned into a complex institution made up of six specialized departments: Archeological, History, Culture and History, Ethnographical, Entomological Departments and the Gallery of Old and Contemporary Masters. Apart from specialized departments there is also Administrative Services Department (Uprava GMV-a) ) which deals with administrative and legal services, accounting and general services, and also a department in charge of restoration and preparation services. Today the Museum departments are situated in several buildings of historical value, some of them in the historical town centre, others in the Old Town, a Gothic-renaissance fortress, in the baroque Sermage Palace, classicist Herzer Palace and the Watchtower as a part of The Old Town complex.
The Museum departments include four permanent museum exhibitions: Culture and History Department in the Old Town, Entomological Department in the Herzer Palace and the Gallery of Old and Contemporary Masters in the Sermage Palace. The Archeological and History Department will soon open in the premises of the Herzer Palace, where visitors will be able to see yet another permanent display.
Apart from its basic role and that is to collect and prepare exhibits, the Museum works on other programmes as well such as exhibitions of paintings or theme exhibitions, either from its own holdings or resulting from the cooperation with other institutions. Following modern trends in this branch the Museum is getting more open towards other forms of culture so it happens quite often that concerts, theatre plays, literature events, professional gatherings, even commercial shows like car or fashion shows take place here.
The aim of Varaždin City Museum as a public institution is to collect, keep and exhibit spiritual and material heritage, before all the heritage of Varaždin region, where it is situated. The Museum has received numerous awards from both professional institutions and wider audience, among which the most significant being: the Pavao Ritter Vitezović award by the Croatian museum trade, in 1994 the nomination for the European Museum of the Year Award by the European Museum Forum, given to a Croatian museum for the first time, and a special acknowledgement for the CD-ROM "Insects" at the International Festival of Audio, Visual and Multimedia Presentation of Museums and Heritage F@imp, organised by AVICOM and held in Taiwan 2004.
Currently the Museum is trying to pay special attention to its visitors who belong to varied age groups, have different educational background and interests, taking into account everything that contributes to the profile of a visitor, aiming at teaching each one of them something new or simply to enable them to have a good time here wishing to come back.