The idea of creating a museum of technology in Bulgaria has a long history. Its origins date back to the establishemnt of the first technical association in Rousse in 1885. As outlined in its founding statute, one of the main priorities of the association was the setting up of a technical museum and library to “assist in the development of technology and technological livelihoods.” For decades, this idea was supported by the Bulgarian Engineering and Architectural Society and in the last decades of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century several important events paved the way for its realisation.
The Polytechnic Museum became part of the system of Bulgarian museums on the 13th of May 1957 with Order No. 486 of the Council of Ministers. Originally, the museum was under the authority of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, subsequently, it was managed by the Ministry of Education and Culture and since 1968 it has been included in the list of national museums.
In the early stages of its development, the museum’s collections were established with the help of the scientific technical unions, and the museum itself occupied work rooms and halls in the House of Science and Technology. At the end of 1922 the museum was granted its own premises and it moved into the current building which houses its collections. Within a short period of time, a team of museum experts assembled the first permanent exhibition.
The National Polytechnic Museum preserves over 22,000 exhibits organised into the following collections: time measuring, transport, photography and cinema, optics, sound recording and sound reproduction, radio and television, computing equipment, musical instruments, geodetic appliances, measuring equipment, household appliances, sewing machines, physics instruments and communication equipment. The museum holds valuable evidence relating to the life and scientific work of prominent figures of Bulgarian science and technology. The scientific archive consists of more than 2,000 archival units. The museum has a video archive, a cinema archive, a photographic archive, a reference apparatus for the history of science and technology, personal archives, a specialized library consisting of a reading room with over 12,000 books and periodicals, a collection of technical themed artworks, cartographic works and more.
The National Polytechnic museum has been the organiser of dozens of conferences and symposia devoted to the history of various areas of science and technology. The museum has issued 18 volumes of the only publication which examines the history of science and technology - Yearbook of the National Polytechnic Museum. It compiles and distributes the children's newspaper "Technitarche" and has issued a number of reference books and brochures.
The National Polytechnic Museum has developed over 140 thematic exhibitions exploring various fields of knowledge. Some of these include: "Memories of the Bulgarian Industry," "Getting Aquainted with the Museum of Science and Technology," " The Magic of the Camera Obscura," "The History of Bulgarian Technology," "Electrification in Bulgaria" and many others. Some of these exhibitions have been presented here and abroad.