The history of the museum began in 1870 when Luigi Torelli, prefect of Venice, purchased the Palazzo del Consiglio to use it to house a centre of archaeological artefacts from Torcello, the adjacent islands and nearby mainland. In 1872 the building was given by Torelli to the province of Venice, thus the Provincial Museum was founded, the direction being entrusted to the researcher Nicoḷ Battaglini. In 1887 Cesare Augusto Levi took his place: he continued the collection of findings which were found on the location and the surroundings and he added others to the Museum which he gathered during his travels, especially in Rome. In 1887 he bought Palazzo dellArchivio, restored it and housed the archaeological collection there, naming it Museo dellestuario, and donating it to the provincial authorities. On May 14th , the Museo Provinciale was inaugurated.
In 1909 Levi was succeeded by Luigi Conton who discovered various necropolis in Adria from where he probably brought some findings to Torcello. Between 1928 and 1930 the collections were rearranged under the management of Adolfo Callegari, the director until 1948. Thanks to him interventions of inventory, cataloguing and restoration were undertaken and the publication, in 1930, of the catalogue Il museo di Torcello. In 1949 the direction was entrusted to Giulia Fogolari who, with the assistance of Guido Zattera, supervised the museum till 1997.In 1974, after a radical restoration of Palazzo del Consiglio and of the objects exibited there, the medieval and modern sections were opened. In the following years the Palazzo dellArchivio was restored and the present archaeological section was inaugurated in the summer of 1990 with a new layout