The local history museum was founded in 1905 by the Dachau Museum Society under the leadership of the artists Hans von Hayek (1869–1940) and Hermann Stockmann (1867–1938). The museum was located in the Dachau Palace until 1957. In 1987 the extensive collection on the cultural history of the Dachau region was reopened following 15 years of work carried out by the Museum Society under the leadership of the Dachau Association of Galleries and Museums. The museum is now located in the historic town centre in a late seventeenth century building that formerly housed the land registry. It was renovated and partially refurnished in 2005.
In the Bezirksmuseum more than 2000 objects on the history and folklore of Dachau and its surroundings are displayed on three floors. The thematic focus is on the history of the town, the burghers’ crafts and trades, their guild system and rural peasant life. A wagon (Kammerwagen) from around 1900 lavishly equipped with the dowry of a bride, a full scale replica of a farmhouse façade, a model peasant’s living room and bedroom illustrate living conditions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the then administrative district of Dachau. One of the highlights of the museum is the presentation of the famous Dachau costume (Dachauer Tracht) on life-size mannequins. The museum’s extensive collection of objects of popular devotion, including its outstanding array of amulets, is of more than regional importance.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum holds special exhibitions at regular intervals. In the foyer there is a small museum shop.