The history of the museum dates from 1889, then the Bessarabian zemstvo (local government) organized an agricultural and industrial exhibition, and that was the basis of the foundation of the museum institution. It is the oldest museum of the country. It had started as a Museum of Agriculture and gradually expanded the field of activity, creating collections that reflect the natural history, contemporary nature, the evolution of human society, and the traditional culture from the territory of Bessarabia and, later, from the Republic of Moldova.
The museum has the most representative collection of Moldovan carpets (18th-20th century).
Folklore events, national and international competitions, and festivals are regularly held in the museum, showcasing folk creations from all over the country.