The historic edifice of neoclassical style, situated on a small hill between the modern city and the archaeological site, was the first museum in Olympia. Its construction began after the initiation of the first period of the excavations of Zeus' sanctuary and it was completed in 1888. The architectural study and the design were the result of the efforts of the German architects F. Adler and W. Dorpfeld, who, in fact, had linked their names to the excavations of Olympia, already in progress since 1875.
Until the late 1970's the musuem housed the exquisite finds of Olympia like the 'Hermes of Praxiteles', the 'Nike of Paionios' and the sculptural compositions of the Temple of Zeus. After the inauguration of the New Archaeological Museum of Olympia, in the Cladeos valley (early in the 1980s), the historic edifice, a long time tainted by the elements of nature, was abandoned and started to be called the 'old museum'.
In view of “Athens 2004” Olympiad, the building was renovated from its foundations to the splendid wooden roof and it was converted to the Museum of the History of the ancient Olympic Games with exhibits that illustrate their brilliant history throughout antiquity.