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The birth date of the museum is considered to be 1837 - the year when its collection was first formed.
In 1836, Emperor Nikolay 1 issued an order to create exhibitions of manufactured articles of all types of local industries. In accordance with this order the practice of state collecting began.
The exhibition was a huge success so it was displayed in the halls of public library. Then in 1861 it was passed over to the province statistics committee and was officially called museum.
In the 3d quarter of 19 th century the museum acquired collections of Arkhangelsk State property Chamber.

On December 17, 1897 , by request of the governor, City Council awarded the museum the title of Arkhangelsk City Public Museum . From that time the museum was permanently located in the lower building of the city hall.

After the October Revolution, in 1920 it was decided to create Northern Regional Museum , on the base of Arkhangelsk City Public Museum . There were included the collections of Arkhangelsk diocese, Fishing industry museum and Arkhangelsk Society for Russian North Studies. Later the museum incorporated the Museum of Revolution , which had been researching the history of revolutionary movement in the North.
In 1933 the Northern Regional Museum opened new exposition consisting of three sections:

* 'Nature and productive forces of the region'
* 'The history of social-economic formations'
* 'Socialistic structuring'

After the forming of Arkhangelsk region in 1938 the museum got the name of Arkhangelsk regional museum of local lore, history and economy.
The next stage in the history of the museum is closely connected with the World War II. During the war years the most valuable part of the museum collections was evacuated to the town of Solvychegotsk . On return from the evacuation the works resumed - expositions were restored and the collections were replenished.

The collection increased considerably during 70's - 80's. This was connected with the creation of a complete museum exhibition in a new building in Lenin's square, 2, which was opened in 1976. The exposition consisted of three sections:

* 'The nature of the region'

* 'The region from the ancient times to the October Revolution'
* 'The Soviet Period'

1981 marked a notable event when the museum got the building of Merchant Yard, a unique historical and architectural monument dating back to XVII - XVIII century. In 1984 there opened a large exhibition devoted to 400-year anniversary of Arkhangelsk , and later - other topical exhibitions. Simultaneously active works had been carried out to develop a project for restoration of the building and turning it into a museum. The restoration works project was approved in 1986.
The mid and late 1990's were tough for the museum - the financing was cut, since 1994 all financing of purchasing of museum items stopped completely. But during even those years the staff managed to do a lot. Several new exhibitions were among the achievements: 'Socialism!' (20's-30's), 1995; 'German neighbourhood in Arkhangesk', 1998; 290 years of Arkhangelsk province', 1998; 'We choose Russia ! The history of parliamentarism in the North', 1999.

Today we can talk about the beginning of a new era in the history of the museum, which is connected with the restoration of and turning the Merchant Yard into a museum. On its premises there will be located various expositions and displays, created auspicious conditions for educational and scientific activities, created modern depositories and restoration workshops. The regional museum is meant to be a major scientific, cultural, educational and entertainment regional studies centre which will aid its principal purpose: to collect, preserve and spread everything that reflects the cultural and natural originality of Pomorye and make this legacy available and useful for the society. This will be a significant input into the improvement of the quality of life of the Arkhangelsk citizens and will draw in tourists and businessmen to the region.
In future Arkhangelsk regional museum will become a centre of popularisation of Pomor historical and cultural legacy, and will be forming historical and ecological awareness.

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