Founded in 1913, the Castlemaine Art Museum has acquired an excellent collection of Australian art works and of historical items from the district’s past. These items fulfill the gallery and museum's commitment to collect, conserve and communicate issues of historical relevance to the region. The 1931 art deco building is noted for its elegant design and is Heritage listed and has been extended a number of times.
The Gallery and Museum are also committed to specialising in Australian art through various displays of oil paintings, watercolours, prints and drawings.
The collection is best known for major works from the late 1800's. Traditional landscape paintings are a feature of the holdings, including works by such artists as Louis Buvelot, Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts, E. Phillips Fox, Rupert Bunny, Max Meldrum, Margaret Preston, R.W. Sturgess, S.M.A. Bale and John Longstaff. Among the contemporary artists represented in the collection are William Frater, Arnold Shore, Russell Drysdale, Fred Williams, John Brack, Jeffrey Smart, John Dent and Wendy Stavrianos.
Part of the gallery's policy is also to support senior and mid-career artists, primarily through exhibitions and publications. A selection of fine decorative arts including china, glassware and silver are among other attractions on permanent display.