As the oldest museum institution in Croatia, the Split Archaeological Museum was founded in 1820 by the decree of the Dalmatian government in Zadar.
The museum's contents come mainly from central Dalmatia, especially from Salona, with thousands of stone epitaphs from that region.
Some 150,000 artifacts (ranging in date from prehistoric times, the period of Greek colonization of the Adriatic, the Roman and Early Christian periods to the early Middle Ages and the period of Croatian popular rulers) are arranged in separate collections. Of special interest is the collection of stone inscriptions from Salona (around 6000) and the collections of Graeco-Hellenistic ceramic objects, Roman glass, ancient clay lamps (around 1600), bone and metal articles, as well as the collection of gems (the largest in the country). In addition, the Museum houses an extensive collection of ancient and medieval coins (over 70,000) and a rich library with an archive.