The city of Elbląg (historically Elbing) is located in the northern Polish Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, just a few kilometers south of the Vistula Lagoon and around 50 kilometers southeast of Gdansk. In the Middle Ages, Elbląg was one of the leading Hanseatic cities and one of the headquarters of the Teutonic Order. In the early modern period, Elbing was predominantly under Polish sovereignty as part of the so-called "Royal Prussia" oder "Polish Prussia". As a result of the First Partition of Poland in 1772 the city came to the newly founded Prussian province of West Prussia, in 1945 to the then People's Republic of Poland.
The museum offers visitors a unique journey that leads, station by station, through the history of West Prussia. It illuminates the cultural and political significance of the Teutonic Order and shows how flourishing Baltic trade became the foundation of great prosperity for the Hanseatic cities, such as
. The trail of history continues on to Frederick the Great, who incorporated the province into his domain in 1772, and leads via the drastic provisions of the Treaty of Versailles to the National Socialist war of annihilation and – as one of its devastating consequences – the flight and expulsion of the German population. A number of stations then look at the period of integration that followed this dramatic caesura, as well as the region's unique culture of remembrance and the activities of the local population. The journey ends with a presentation of a future-focused project of German-Polish partnership: the branch of the West Prussia State Museum in the regional museum in Krokowa (Muzeum Regionalne w Krokowej).
Focal points are presented in elaborately constructed rooms based on specific topics: What associations and memories surround the metropolis of Gdansk, `a city whose reputation had already spread far and wide during the early modern era? What is the artistic and scientific significance of amber, which can be found in this region? The permanent exhibition addresses these and other questions, for example, about the cultural blossoming in Royal Prussia during the Baroque era or the eventful career of the West Prussian painter Bruno Krauskopf, who was ostracized under National Socialism.