The two storey solid wooden building housing the museum today was built in the year 1897 as a fort by the second White Rajah, Charles Brooke to impose peace and order in the region where warfare among the local tribes prevailed.
To picture Miri when the township came to know oil, we have to project ourselves into a very different past. When the original Shell men arrived, it consisted of 20 scattered houses and a few shops. These included a bazaar, a gambling farm, a pawn shop and an Arab shop. The trade of Miri consisted chiefly of jelutong, brassware, belachan and budu.