The Historical Museum of Crete offers an overall picture of the history and culture of Crete from the early Christian times to the 20th century, while seasonal exhibitions include subjects of Byzantine or modern art, important personalities of Greece and presentation of historical events. Chania city is home to the Historical Archive of Crete with more than 170 archival collections and the second largest Nautical Museum in Greece, which aims to preserve the great maritime tradition of Crete. The Byzantine Museums of Heraklion, Chania and Rethymnon are also very special venues dedicated mainly to ecclesiastical art.
The war collections and archives intend to commemorate the resistance and struggle of the Cretans against the various occupiers of Crete. The most important of these are the War Museum of Rethymnon at Chromonastiri, the Historical Museum of Vorizia, the Museums of National Resistance at Therisso and Heraklion, the Historical Museum of Keramia, the Museum of Skalidis at Pervolia, the War Museum at Askyfou and the Military Collection of Argyrakis at Episkopi. Additionally, the German Tunnels at Platanias and Makasi Gate at Heraklion Walls are important historical sites.
The museum has been housed since 1997 in the church of the monastery of San Salvatore, dating probably from the 15th century, next to the bastions on the west side of the Venetian fortifications of Chania.
The Museum is made up of a cluster of buildings in the central square of the historical village of Varvari, now known as Myrtia. The Museum Exhibition is housed on a site formerly occupied by the home of the Anemoyiannis family, which was related to Nikos Kazantzakis' father, Kapetan Michalis.