The Thuringian State Museum Heidecksburg, whose sponsor is the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, is one of the largest museum institutions in the Free State of Thuringia. Dating back to a foundation by the last regent of the principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt in 1918, the museum was taken over by the state of Thuringia in 1923.
The former residential palace, with its ceremonial and residential rooms, its inventory and the diverse collections, had become a museum that – removed from private influence – had to serve the common good in its entirety. With the takeover by the state of Thuringia, all obligations resulting from the foundation, which ensured the cohesion of the collections, were codified. After 1945, the individual areas of the collection were worked on by specialists and the director at the time was the museum's custodian in Thuringia. Since that time, continuous museum work has been guaranteed. On 23 August 1950, the museum association »Staatliche Museen Heidecksburg« (State Museums Heidecksburg) was founded, which organisationally united the Castle Museum, the Museum of Local History - which emerged from the municipal collection of antiquities - and the Natural History Museum. In the following years, the »Folklore Museum of Thuringian Farmhouses«, the Emperor's Hall in Schwarzburg, the Friedrich Froebel Museum in Bad Blankenburg and the Museum of Monastery, Forestry and Hunting History in Paulinzella were added. The dissolution of the state of Thuringia in 1952 resulted in the Heidecksburg collection being assigned to what was then the district of Rudolstadt. After 1989, the district of Rudolstadt, since 1994 the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, pursued a museum policy that is also institutionally supported by the state. Today, these institutions belong to the Thuringian State Museum Heidecksburg.
In accordance with the definition of the International Council of Museums ICOM, the Thuringian State Museum Heidecksburg sees itself as a nonprofit permanent institution serving society and its development, which is open to the public and acquires, preserves, researches, publicises and exhibits material evidence about man and his environment. Heidecksburg Palace is one of the largest and most visited museums in Thuringia. In keeping with its historically evolved collection structure, the museum's specialist work focuses on the many facets of residential culture at the court of the Princes of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. The museum with its 20 permanent employees is financed by the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt and is a member of Museumsverband Thüringen e.V.Museumsverband Thüringen e.V. (Thuringian Museum Association).