The foundations of the museum‘s ethnographic collection were set in place by Anton Badea, the founder of the institution, starting with 64 items of popular costumes and household assets acquired in 1960. He gathered the most representative items of the material and spiritual life of the village, from traditional work tools, household assets, popular costume pieces, to monuments of traditional architecture and installations. The building housing these items was built in 1892 and it is on the List of the Historical Monuments from Romania.
Anton Badea followed the example of Iustin Handrea from Maioresti, who organized an exhibition in 1936 with ethnographic material that he gathered over the years, also offering his services when the museum from Reghin was founded.
The first exhibition was open at the museum in 1966 and was entitled „The popular art from the Gurghiu Valley”, followed in 1972 by another exhibition entitled „Tools and popular technique from the Upper Mures Valley and the Transylvanian Plain”, reorganized in 1991 with the same theme. The main exhibition was again reorganized in 2010, this time bearing the title „The dowry of the Mures village”, this being the fourth permanent exhibition in the museum’s 50 years of existence.
Since its beginnings, the museum held 128 exhibitions and after 1991 temporary exhibitions were inaugurated, on different themes: icons, popular costumes, ceramic, customs, Romanian, Hungarian and Saxon culture.
The outdoor exhibition hosts monuments of traditional architecture – the household from Hodac, the house from Calimanel and the Hungarian house from Gurghiu; also, the wooden church from Iara de Mures and popular technique installations – 2 water mills (one for flour and one for oil) and wine presses.
The museum became, in time, a picturesque space, capable of offering to its visitors various cultural programs, in close relation with its patrimony or with the cultural area that’s being represented – the culture of the traditional village.