The Thessaloniki Cinema Museum was founded in1997 when the city of Thessaloniki was selected as the Cultural Capital of Europe. This initiative coincided with the worldwide commemoration of the centenary of Cinematography.

The Museum operates under the supervision of the Greek Ministry of Culture, is an independent part of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and is run in accordance with Law 2557/1997 (article 4, paragraph 2).

According to its charter, the Thessaloniki Museum of Cinema exists to collect, preserve and display cinematographic artefacts in Greece. For that purpose, the museum organizes educational and research programs in collaboration with others museums to study and document any artefacts in some way related to cinema.