At the end of the 19th century the local history association calling itself "The Men of Morgenstern" put together a collection of prehistoric finds and ethnological objects, which formed the basis of the museum's collection. At the beginning of the 20th century the municipal Morgenstern Museum expanded the collection, adding a scientific section which dealt mainly with the geology of the region.
At the end of the Second World War many of the exhibits were destroyed in a fire. When rebuilding the collection it was decided to forego the scientific section and instead to add a section about the history of shipping. This section was given to the German Maritime Museum when it was opened at the beginning of the 1970s.