The castle at the acropolis began building in the byzantine period and later it was used by Angevin during their invasion but according to most of the walls we see today it is of the Venetian period. In fact the whole top of the hill of the acropolis was included in the castle; most of the area circulated by walls is created by the Italian Archaeological Mission during 1928 – 1940. In order to make a place for their findings, the Italians reconstructed the ruins of the castle used by the Venetian captain in Butrint which were found in the rocky part of the acropolis, a place where in 1940 the Italian mission opened a museum.
During these years, the museum was put inside the reconstructed castle in the acropolis of the ancient town. Marble object like statues, inscriptions were exhibited in the courtyard, where as the small findings were exhibited in a room next to the courtyard.
In the 60’s the museum contained the archaeological material that was found by the Italian Mission. The systematic excavations made during 1960-1980, from the Albanian archaeologists, extended the collection of the findings and also the knowledge about Butrint, which were exhibited after some reconstructions of the Museum, and in a particular way, in 1988 when the museum took its complete shape and was able to present the history of the town through the centuries.
During 1990-1991 and the civil unrest of 1997 were difficult times for Albania and this was also manifested in Butrint in the robberies that were made in the old museum.
During 2000-2005 and 2008 the Ministry of Culture and the National Park of Butrint in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology, Butrint Foundation and other Albanian and foreign institutions, worked to find and bring the stolen objects in Butrint. This fruitful collaboration gave its results in the summer of 2005 when the area of the museum was reconstructed and was enriched with the materials found in the common excavations of the Butrinti Foundation and the Institute of Archaeology, beginning 1994. The reopening of the museum in October 2005 was made due to the financial help of the National Park of Butrint, Institute of Archaeology, Butrinti Foundation and Leventis Foundation.
The history of the town with its birth, development and its fall is told according to the archaeological material and the written sources of ancient authors. The presentation of smaller populated centers, smaller than Butrint clears the conditions of the development of the town during antiquity and during the roman period. The reflection of the monetary circulation and the numerous inscriptions are seen in the ancient time of the town which tells us about the political and social organization of the town. A place is dedicated to the Late Antiquity and the byzantine period where we see the contraction of the town and its turning to a religious center. The material exhibited in the museum, the big number of excavated and well preserved monuments and also the picturesque view increase the information that a visitor gets.
Everything exhibited in the museum is made based on three criteria; the chronologic, which aims to give the development of the town in different periods beginning with the deep prehistory (stone age) till its fall in the Middle Ages; the thematic one, to give aspects from the everyday life, economical and social, like, craftsmanship, trade, the relationship with the region and the Mediterranean, art, culture, cult, education, etc..; and the didactic, which is realized by using panels, maps, sketches, synopsis, three dimensional reconstructions of the main monuments.
The Archaeological Museum of Butrint is a museum with contemporary standards and unique in its field.