In the town on the Savinja efforts to preserve cultural monuments have a long tradition. Paolo Santonino reports in his travel diary from 1487 how the people of Celje preserved classical inscriptions and reliefs. Though at first they were built into various buildings and private homes, as early as the mid 19th century the foundations of the future lapidary collection were laid, thus providing the core of the future museum. The museum itself was founded on May 1, 1882 in the premises of the present-day music school in the square Slomškov trg. The museum continuously faced financial and spatial problems because of the fast inflow of museum objects. In 1920 the city council of Celje therefore discussed the option of moving the museum to the Old Counts’ Mansion, and the idea became even more attractive after the discovery of the famous Celje Ceiling in the mansion hall.
From its very beginnings the Celje Municipal Museum, renamed the Celje Regional Museum in 1966, has focused its development on a many-sided presentation of the history of Celje from ancient times to the present. This continued and successful development has been confirmed throughout by the numerous visitors and the museum even made a name for itself abroad, when it was nominated for the »European Museum of the Year« award in 1990.
The 130th anniversary of the Celje museum, celebrated in 2012, marked the museum's continuous growth and progress, punctuated by brief periods of stagnation. In the same year, the third phase of the Princely Palace restoration was concluded, providing the museum with three new exhibitions:
Celeia - A town beneath today's town The Counts of Celje
From a bone needle to Celje stars
Today, the museum offers a versatile view into the cultural heritage of the Celje region, spanning over 3000 m2 of exhibition grounds and 10 locations outside Celje.