The museum was founded in 1920 and opened for visitors in 1922. In 1924, the city council handed over the Old Castle premises to the museum. Here, on the Castle hill, in the historical centre of Grodno, the museum Curator U.Jadkowskij found the ruins of stone constructions of the 12th - 17th centuries during archeological excavations. The New Castle, and then the Craftsmans House — a typical accommodation unit of the second half of the 18th century, were handed over to the museum in 1990.
The exposition occupies 30 halls with more than 8,000 exhibits. The main part of the exposition is located in the Palace of the Old Castle with archeological, historical and regional nature departments. An archeological excavation with the ruins of the Lower Church is located on the Castle hill; this is the artifact of Grodno architecture school of the 12th century. The expositions «New Castle. Events and Destiny», «Preserved Treasures», «An Amazing Natural World», «Weapon of the Past Centuries» are displayed in the New Castle and demonstrate the most valuable museum collections.
Annually, over 150,000 people visit the museum, more than 2,000 excursions are arranged. The main museum contain fund includes 172,137 items.
There are rich archeological collections, documents and old-printed periodicals in the museum. Among the most valuable items are: incunabulas, palaeotypes and the documents of the 16th - 18th centuries.
The numismatic collection includes over 30,000 coins of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Hungary, Sweden and Russia.
Art collections comprise West-European graphic works (the 17th - 20th centuries), copper moulding (the 16th - 19th centuries).
Weapon and ammunition collections (the 10th - 20th centuries) are also very popular.
There are general and thematic excursions, museum educational programs, such as «Museum for School, «Grodno Studies», «Museum Stories for the Youngest». They give an idea about the key events of Grodno history, development of culture and art in Belarus.