The Historical Museum in Bielsko-Biała, with its main seat in the Sulkowski Dukes’ Castle, continues the museum’s traditions established at the beginning of the 20th century, when the local government of Bielsko in Silesia and Biała in Galicia set up two separate museums. The old one was the City Museum in Biała created on the initiative of the professor from a grammar school in Bielsko, Erwin Hanslik, as a result of the resolution adopted by the City Council on 19th December 1902. At the same time, a similar initiative was introduced at the City Council meeting in neighbouring Bielsko by a local evangelical pastor, dr Artur Schmidt. Upon his motion, in the following months in Bielsko, Biała and the surrounding areas in 1903 there was a massive campaign launched with the aim of collecting memorabilia of some museum value. The results of the campaign were presented in June 1903 at the Shooting Gallery in Bielsko (todays’ Centre of Culture in Bielsko-Biała, BCK) as the display of local artefacts. A few months later the City Council of Bielsko set up the City Museum in Bielsko. Yet, at that time neither of the museums was opened to the public.
The Museum in Biała was opened on 3rd December 1904. It was located in four rooms in the southern wing of the first floor of the City Hall, adjoining the rooms occupied by the Citizens’ Association. It had remained in operation there until 1920 when its activity was ceased, the exhibits were moved and stored in one room, while the premises were devoted to other purposes. The Museum was reopened in 1932, this time in the basement of the building, where it functioned until the outbreak of the II World War when it was closed again. For many years it was looked after by the principal of the catholic folk school, Franciszek Farny, and a retired governor of the Municipal Savings Bank, Wilhelm Kroczek.
The Museum in Bielsko was opened to the public on 25th February 1906 in the building of the so-called Old City Hall at Rynek 9, where it remained in constant operation until 1941. Owing to the efforts of its curator, a master chimney sweep, Edward Schnack, the exposition was substantially expanded in the interwar period. Since 1931 it was located in eight rooms on the second floor of the building and one small room on the third floor, while some of the exhibits were also displayed along the corridor and in the staircase. At that time it was one of the larger regional museums in Poland and the third one in Silesia, following similar establishments in Katowice and Cieszyn.
In 1941 Hitler’s occupation authorities combined the two city museums, forming the so-called Heimatmuseum which was located in Biała, in a former guild house at Plac Wolności 7. It remained there until the end of the II World War.
In 1945 a decision was made as to reactivate the Museum. The process of establishing the museum in the Sulkowski Dukes’ Castle was initiated by Stanislaw Oczko who managed the place until 1980. The City Museum in Bielsko was opened to the public on 14th February 1947, but already in 1950 it was nationalized and subordinated to the Upper-Silesian Museum in Bytom. The museum regained its full independence in 1963 and following the establishment of the voivodeship of Bielsko in 1975, it was transformed into the Regional Museum in Bielsko-Biała. From the 1970s more and more local divisions were created: Julian Falat’s Museum (1973), Museum of Textile Technology (1979), later called the Museum of Technology and Textile Industry, Emil Zegadlowicz’s Museum (1980-1993), the Museum in Kęty (1981-2000) and the Weaver’s House Museum (1992). Since 2001 the Museum was called Museum in Bielsko-Biała with its main seat in the castle and its divisions of the Museum of Technology and Textile Industry, Julian Falat’s Villa and the Weaver’s House. At the end of 2013 these names were changed into: the Historical Museum in Bielsko-Biała, Old Factory, Julian Falat’s Museum (Fałatówka) and the Weaver’s House.