The building known today as the Altemberger House, after the name of its first proprietor, was purchased in 1545 by the Magistrate of the city, becoming the location of the Town Hall for 400 years (until 1948). It comprises 10 architectural units, to which a defensive tower was added, conjointly structuring one of the most impressive ensembles of civic Gothic architecture in Romania and even in the South Eastern Europe. The oldest part of the architectural set is the dwelling tower, its construction being initiated in the late 13th century.
As the legendary founder of the city was called Hermann, the visitors are welcomed in the Museum’s courtyard by several decorative figures named Hermanns, illustrating the late 17th c. townsman typologies: the healer, the knight, the banker, the butcher, the brewer (tavern keeper), the infantryman, the student, the mayor and the minstrel. In the back courtyard, known as Martyrs’ Garden, there are several works of figurative sculpture as the four consoles of the loggia, representing male portraits, elegantly and minutely executed. They decorate a space presenting elements of a Renaissance influence.
Multi-folded in the ways of approaching, the broad concept of the permanent exhibition (reorganized during 2006 and 2007) is that of local history.
Beginning by presenting the common life in the Paleolithic Period, the exhibition offers an illustrative image about how people lived in caves, in huts, in households, in more elaborate villas or medieval interiors.
Human activities are described from the game-processing to the specialized production of guilds. The social status and the leading position are underlined through the means of the exhibits in the Roman lapidarium as well as by the settings of the exhibition presenting the Magistrate of Sibiu.
Warfare was another facet of the human existence, implying weapons, tactics, logistics and specific organization, all envisaged through the means of arms and armors. Religious believes are constant aspects of human life, being illustrated since Prehistory to the days of elaborate liturgical rites, through the means of cult items.
Finally, the tour concludes with the presentation of the southern Transylvania movement for national emancipation, presenting events of the 18th to the 20th century period.
The main sections of the museum are: The Emergence of Human Settlements in Southern Transylvania, Roman Lapidarium, Medieval Lapidarium, Arms and Armors, The Guilds of Sibiu, The Glass work in Transylvania, The Magistrates of Sibiu, Coins and Medals, Treasury, The Movement for National Emancipation in Southern Transylvania. (From Brukenthal National Museum)