The museum was initiated at thebegginning of 20 century, when private collections began to be linked in a unified exhibition.


In 1919 several enthusiasts in Panevėžys boys grammar school began collecting ethnographical items. Four years later, the first regional studies club was established. A year after that, it became a fellowship, which raised the issue of establishing a regional studies museum. Thus, on January 18, 1925 the first exhibition of the museum was solemnly opened.


In the beginning, various exhibits were given to the museum by private individuals. Local schoolchildren also collected exhibits. As the funds of the museum expanded, some items were presented to Kaunas University Library and Kaunas Vyrautas Magnus Museum. As the records of the museum say, in 1925 the museum had 2000, and in 1939 – 12 000 exhibits.


Due to its continuous growth the museum changed its location from Krantas (Bank) street to several other places.


World War II brought numerous disturbances to the activities of the museum. Eventually the museum served as a hospital. What happened to its exhibits was  that they were either destroyed or hidden. 


After the War, the Museum opened archeology, numismatic, history, WorldWar II, social industry and zoo Halls.


Since Independence the Museum has employed 34 persons. The number of exhibits today reach 105 000.