In 1867 the Powysland Club was founded by members from in and around Welshpool who shared an interest in history, especially of Mid Wales. Several had their own collections of interesting items and it was decided to bring these artefacts together to form a museum. A piece of land was purchased on the corner of Red Bank and Salop Road and a Museum was erected and opened in 1874. In 1887, to mark the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the museum was transferred under the trust to the town of Welshpool.
In 1974 the running of the museum became the responsibility of Powys County Council, but during then 1980s it became obvious that the old building could no longer fulfil the requirements of a modern museum. The collection was duly moved to a former warehouse on the Montgomery Canal, which had been extensively but carefully renovated so as to retain its character whilst providing a secure and comfortable environment for the collection and visitors alike. The new museum was opened on May 30th 1990. In 1993 the museum won the Gulbenkian Award for 'most improved museum in a rural area'
THE GROUND FLOOR
The displays illustrate the history and development of life in Montgomeryshire from the earliest prehistoric settlers to the 20th century population. Within the entrance hall to the museum the visitor is reminded of the initial purpose of the building as a warehouse. On the ground floor is an exhibition of agricultural tools, stock-farming implements and dairying equipment, which reflects the fundamental part played by farming in the growth of the economy and society of the area since the very earliest times. Also on show are collections depicting the development of the canal and the railway systems which have similarly had a tremendous effect on the character of the county
A display of old photographs and maps gives a picturesque introduction to Welshpool and Montgomeryshire. Through the second room on the ground floor, which has changing exhibitions, the visitor can use the stair or the lift to the first floor.
THE FIRST FLOOR
In the archaeological gallery the displays start with an exhibition on the history of the collections and the museum. Then the displays focus on the history of Montgomeryshire, and take the visitors on a chronological tour from the first farmers in the Neolithic period, through the Bronze and Iron Ages, the coming of the Romans, the attacks of the Vikings and the growth of Christianity. The archaeological finds include both those made by the members of the Powysland Club and those which have come from more recent scientific excavations carried out by the Clwyd -Powys Archaeological Trust.