The Patriotic Museum, forerunner of Dubrovnik Museums, was founded in 1872 at the instigation of the Chamber of Trade and the Commune Council. The museum was located on the first floor of the commune building of the time and was opened to the public in 1873. Its nucleus consists of a fine natural history collection, along with which cultural, historical and archaeological collections were founded and a collection of folk handicrafts.
Today Dubrovnik Museums are a complex regional establishment comprising four specialised museums: the Cultural History Museum, Maritime Museum, Archaeological Museum and Ethnographic Museum. Their ample holdings are on show in buildings that are themselves heritage structures of the highest order of importance.
The Cultural History Museum is located in the Rector''s Palace, seat of government and residence of the Rector of the Dubrovnik Republic. In its permanent display, an endeavour has been made to conjure up the authentic space of historical events, and in the presentation of artworks from the collection, to represent the rich cultural, artistic and historical heritage of the Dubrovnik Republic.
The Ethnographic Museum is located in the greatest granary of the Republic, Rupe / The Holes, where, in the setting of the authentic historical space, the traditional culture of the Dubrovnik regions is presented.
The Maritime Museum is located in Fort St John, and its permanent display presents the famed maritime past of the Dubrovnik area.
The Archaeological Museum has no permanent display. Its holdings cover heterogeneous materials from prehistory to the late Middle Ages. Some of the material is shown in Revelin Fort, in the framework of two thematic exhibitions: Early Medieval Sculpture in Dubrovnik and Revelin – Archaeological Research/ Spatial Development / Foundry.