The Bangor Museum and History Center was established by a group of 22 men, now the Bangor Historical Society, in 1864. The Society, led by Judge John Godfrey, was interested in the collection, preservation and interpretation of local history so that the public will be able to have access to the items and information they could as resources for education. The society is the second oldest historical society in the Maine, next to the Maine Historical Society in Portland.
The Bangor Historical Society used to occupy a storage and meeting space, which it shared with the Bangor Public Library. The two organizations occupied the Bangor Savings Bank. All items and objects were destroyed during the Great Fire of 1911. One year after, the Society re-opened in the Bangor Public Library where donations were made by the residents, leading to the transfer of the Society to a bigger space to house its collection. The Sons of Union Veterans, the caretakers of the GAR Memorial Home, the Thomas A. Hill House, agreed to provide the home for the society and its treasures. In the summer of 1953, the Society opened its new home.
Today, the History Center features more than 10,000 photographic prints, tintypes, daguerreotypes, glass plate negatives, and postcards. It also houses a massive Quipus collection of historic clothing.