Following the establishment on July 25, 1872 of the Society of History and Archeology of Banat, on the initiative of Zsigmond Ormós, the foundations of the Banat Museum were laid, which donated a large part of the objects from the personal collections to the new museum. The first heritage items to enter his inventory were initially stored in a room in the Palace of the Episcopate of Cenad. The objects of the museum came from donations, accidental archeological discoveries and acquisitions.
In 1876, with the support of the prefect of Timiș County, the Ormós Zsigmond Society of History and Archeology of Banat received two rooms in the Wellaner House, on Lonovics Stadium, the museum’s headquarters until the interwar period.
The official opening of the Banat Museum to the public took place in 1877. During this period, the museum’s patrimony increased rapidly.
In 1879, a special Museum Society was established, which was to deal exclusively with the activity of the Banat Museum. This new cultural society was unified in 1884 with the Society of History and Archeology, thus creating the Museum Society of History and Archeology.
Since 1887, the Wellaner building has been undergoing general repairs, works that lasted several years, the patrimony of the Banat Museum being housed during all this time in the building of the old prefecture. In 1888, the building of the Museum Palace was completed (today the Library of the Romanian Academy, Timișoara branch), a building that proved to be too small from the beginning to house the collections of the Banat Museum. In 1889 the Banat Museum was reopened to the public. At the beginning of the last decade of the 19th century, the museum had the following collections: archeology and ancient history, art gallery, natural sciences, library and archive. In 1892 it was decided to set up a decorative art department. The year 1893 marked for the history section the moment of the beginning of some specialized archeological excavations, which continued throughout the following decades.
In 1896, the Banat Museum participated in the Universal Exhibition in Budapest with several objects, winning a bronze medal and a diploma of thanks.
Szentkláray Jenő, Berkeszi István Pontelly István, Patzner István, Deschán Achill or Kabdebó Gergely had an important activity in organizing the museum.
With the integration of Banat into the Romanian national state (December 1, 1918), the Museum of Banat entered a new period.
An important activity in order to reorganize the museum was held by Emanuil Ungureanu, who in the interwar years held the position of cultural inspector of the city of Timișoara. The museum faced the lack of space throughout the interwar period. Despite all these difficulties, the museum has increased its collections, an important role in the smooth running of the institution being played by Joachim Miloia, Dionisie Linția, Aurel Ciupe, Marius Moga. The wooden churches in Banat were researched, scientifically organized archeological weeks took place (coordinated by the famous historian Constantin Daicoviciu), the collections of natural and art were enriched by the entry into their patrimony of some very rare pieces. At the same time, the Banat Museum participated in a series of exhibitions organized in the country and abroad.
The Second World War hampered the smooth running of the Banat Museum. Evacuated due to the bombings, many of the pieces of the Banat Museum were stolen by Soviet troops in Timișoara (after the World Heritage in the First World War suffered from the Serbian military occupation and the Hungarian authorities).
In 1948, the Banat Museum was transferred to the Huniazilor Castle in Timișoara. After 1950, the museum’s collections were enriched with valuable pieces. Some of these were deposited in the Church of the Mercy, disused for religious service.
Until January 1, 2006, the Museum of Banat Timișoara included the following sections: History Department, Natural Sciences Section, Art Section, Ethnography Section, as well as the Zonal Restoration-Conservation Laboratory, constituting a cultural institution of reference in Banat. From January 1, 2006, the Art Department becomes an independent institution with the name of “Timișoara Art Museum”, the first director of the new institution being prof.univ.dr. Marcel Tolcea.
In July 2006, the Ethnography Department was transferred to the Timișoara Village Museum, on which occasion the renowned ethnologist Andrei Milin, the former head of the Ethnography Department, was appointed director of the Village Museum.