As early as at the end of the 16th century a so called »art and wonder chamber« at Heidecksburg Castle could be proved. Around 1700, the hall of mirrors that exhibits East Asian porcelain and still subsists today, came into existence. The year 1757 is considered to be the year of foundation of the natural history collection. The regents of Rudolstadt, not being an exception, collected pieces of art of all kind, coins and natural produces as part of their sovereign self-conception. The paintings, graphics or statues were presented to the marvelling audience at specially designed rooms.
The part of the princely collection still existing today, formed the basis of the museum founded at Heidecksburg Palace in 1918. Over the course of decades the inventories could be supplemented by donations, targeted purchases and takeovers of collections.