The Brukenthal National Museum in Sibiu is an institution renowned in Europe, counting among the cultural landmarks of this country. Its collections were established by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal (1721 - 1803), governor of Transylvania between 1777 and 1787. The museum could receive visitors as early as in 1790, three years before Louvre Museum opened. The official opening took place in 1817. Thus, it is the oldest museum in this country. The museum received also the collections of the Carpathian Society Museum. In 1950 497 Romanian works of art from the former Astra Museum were added. The museum comprises: Brukenthal Palace, the Museum of History, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Pharmacy History, the "August von Spiess" Museum of Hunting, and the House of the Arts (the premises of the temporary contemporary art exhibitions), the Contemporary Art Galleries and the Blue House. The Art Gallery comprises the two permanent exhibitions, the Brukenthal Picture Gallery Collections, and the National Art Gallery, while on the second floor there are the halls for temporary exhibitions. Brukenthal Palace housing the museum is a Baroque monument, built by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal. The main wing was built between 1778 and 1788. Sculptor Sino Hoffmeyer worked at it. The Brukenthal Picture Gallery, whose exhibits were purchased by the baron in Vienna, after 1750, holds and illustrates the Flemish-Dutch painting school (450 items), the Italian one (200 items), the German-Austrian one (480), the French and Spanish ones (20) from the 15th - 18th centuries. The National Art Gallery, whose collections were gathered after 1950, from the ASTRA collections and the acquisitions made in time, comprises reference works, illustrating the history of Romanian art from the 15th - 20th centuries, including over 3,000 items.
The Stamp Room, founded by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal, is the oldest in this country. It holds sketchings from the 16th - 18th centuries, as well as modern and contemporary Romanian graphics, summing up over 12,000 items. The famous artists include Albrecht Dürer, Marcantonio Raimondi, Hendrick Goltzius, Agostino Carracci, J. Callot, G. Tiepolo, Piranesi.
The decorative art collection comprises over 600 items: furniture (about 200 pieces), mowers and mediaeval silverware (61 artefacts), religious garbs made in Italy in the 14th - 15th centuries (20 items), Far East decorative art (120 items), mediaeval Oriental carpets (61 items). The library, available to researchers and students, preserves a rich book collection (Toma de Aquino, Opus praeclarum quarti scripti, Mainz, 1469; Breviarum croaticum, 1493; Petrarca, Triomphi, 1488; Schedel's Chronicles - 2,000 wooden illustrations, Nürnberg, 1493; De mirabilibus mundi by Solinus C. Iulius, printed in Venice in 1488; Strabo's Geography, Rome, 1473; the Natural History of Pliny the Elder, Venice, 1498; the works of Boccacio and Petrarch etc). The precious collection of manuscripts includes the famous Brukenthal Breviary, carried out in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 16th century, written on parchment, in Gothic small letters, embellished with painted miniatures, assigned to Simon Bening and Geeraert Horenbaut. The about 1,500 Romanian rare books include Vaarlam's Homily, Jassy, 1643; the New Testament of Belgrade, 1648; Șerban Cantacuzino's Bible from 1688.
The museum owns goods listed in the National Cultural Heritage Treasure.