‣ 1834 (November)
The Museum was established on November 3rd 1834, at the initiative of the brother of the King Alexandru Ghica, the Great Count Mihalache Ghica, who donated important collections, including Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins, rock and mineral, fossils, mollusk, fish, birds and mammals collections, as well as works of art. Although it was first conceived as a natural history cabinet, the museum became a mixed institution, harbouring antiquities, old paintings and natural curiosities. Although it was conceived as natural history cabinet, the museum became a mixed institution, harbouring antiquities, old paintings and natural curiosities.
The first director of the Zoology and Mineralogy department was Carol Wallenstein (1837-1859). During his administration, the museum had mainly a didactic character. Carlo Ferrerati (1860-1867) who followed at the lead of the museum made a substantial contribution to the enrichment of the collections, both by acquisitions, as well as by obtaining national and foreign donations.
The most important donations were received from Dr. Hilarie Mitrea, during the period in which Professor Gregoriu Ştefănescu was director (1867-1893). Professor Ştefănescu is also the one who discovered the most important exhibit of the Museum, the Deinotherium gigantissimum skeleton.
Over time, the Museum was established in various buildings in Bucharest. The present headquarters were designed and built as the results of the efforts of Dr. Grigore Antipa, its director between 1893 –1944. The Museum created by the great scientist was modern both by the exhibition manner and its role and activity. Moreover, through persistent efforts, Grigore Antipa substantially enriched the collections of the Museum by very valuable specimens from all over the world. He is also the one who created the first bio-geographical dioramas in Bucharest, a model that was afterwards an inspiration for the great museums of the world.
‣ 1933, King Charles the Second
— decided that the museum should be named after its organizer, Grigore Antipa.
During the post-war period, the museum continued to develop and the scientific research activity expanded, beginning with the period when Acad. Mihai Bacescu, Ph.D. assured its management (1964-1988). The international expeditions with the participation of the Museum specialists, in Tanzania (1973), Indonesia (1991) and Brazil (1994) are to be noted.
After Mr. Dumitru Murariu, Ph.D., was appointed as Museum Director (1988), apart from the scientific research the modernization of the heritage records was envisaged aiming also to diversify activities with the public. The number of temporary exhibitions that are annually organized is increasing as well as the number of visitors of all ages and categories that come to the Museum by themselves, with their family or friends. During the last years the ample educational programs have multiplied, contributing in this way to the assertion and recognition of the Museum as one of the most important institutions of science, education, culture and also entertainment in this country. In 2009 the public exhibition was closed to start an ambitious project of modernization.