The museum is located at the city centre on the former Hastahane Caddesi now named as the Turgut Özal Caddesi and behind the Hatuniye Medresse which is one of the best examples of the architecture of the Karamanoğulları Principality Era.
In Karaman and its environs traces of a large number of civilizations both from the pre-historic and historic periods are evident. Today both Karaman and the nearby region display a large number of mounds and historical sites. However as museum activity had a late start in Karaman, many of the portable works discovered at these sites were removed to other museums.
Motivated by the notion that this rich arhaeological and ethnographic heritage should be protected at its place of origin, the first museum was established in 1961 at the Tourism Association and Library with the support of some local administrators and prominent members of the Karaman community. In 1963 it was moved to a building in the market area, in 1966 to Imaret (alm house) of İbrahim Bey, in 1968 to a rented house and was finally opened to public in its present building in 1971.
The museum is a two storey building where each floor has a usable floor space of 550 m². At the lower floor there is a second exhibition hall which can be opened to the publicors in the future, storage areas, a photograhy laboratory, workshop and the library.
The exhibition hall on the upper floor consists of two sections and the material is exhibited in 33 cases. In the archaeological section there are works from the Neolothic Age to the late Byzantine. In the ethnograpic section there are material from the Seljuk, Anatolian principalities, Ottoman and the Republican periods.
In the museum garden stone works belonging to the Byzantine and the Turkish - Islamic period are arranged on grass with Roman tomb steles making up the bulk of the material displayed.
Among the material exhibited, the Neolithic - Chalcolithic Age findings from the Canhasan Mound excavations are particularly interesting. Canhasan Chalcolithic age findings displayed in cases numbered 1, 2, 3, 14 and 17 consist of baked earth cups and pots, human and animal figurines, stone axes, obsidian arrow heads, scrapers made of bones, bracelets and necklases, sea shells ornaments, necklaces made with blue apatit stone and grinding stones from basilite.
In case no. 4 where material from the Bronze Age are exhibited, besides the pottery found at the Sisanın Mound and the Gökçe village, there are also black and dark grey coloured polished pottery belonging to the Western Anatolia Yortan culture.
In case no. 5, the exhibited Hellenistic Period findings are from Mersin - Gelindere, Muğla Iasos, Adıyaman regions and from around Karaman. Most of them are lekistos and plates.
The majority of the Roman Period material exhibited in case no.6 is collected from Karaman - Taşkale, Bayır, Karacaören and Kazımkarabekir area. They include human and animal figurines from baked earth, oil lamps, small pitchers and plates.
In case no. 7 lachrymatories and parfume bottles from the Roman and Byzantine periods are exhibited. Some of these are plain and without any motifs while others are very colourful and richly decorated.
In cases no. 8 and 9 wood lids, box sections, cosmetic boxes, bronze Rosses, gold Jewellery, bronze oil lamps from the Byzantine period and samples of Byzantine ceramics are exhibited.
In cases no. 12, 13, 18 and 19 coins are displayed from the Greek, Venetian, Roman, Byzantine, Princedom, Karaman Dynasty, Ottoman and the Republican periods, respectively.
In case no. 15, Urartian bronze bracelets, figurines and offering plates are displayed. These materials were generally obtained through purchases and added to the museum collection
In case no. 16 there are stone stamp seals and cylindrical seals from the early and late Hittite periods and the case also contains the photographs of the inscriptions made with the seals on display.
In case no. 20 in the Ethnographical seciton there are tiles and mosaics, enameled and over and under glazed tiles, plaster reliefs, and tiles from Çanakkale and Kütahya from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
In cases no. 21 and 22 cauldron, tray, plates, medicine cups, mortar, lunch box and ewer with geometrical design and plant decorations from the 14th and 19th century Seljuk and Ottoman periods are exhibited which were collected from the vicinity of Karaman.
In cases no. 24 and 25 among the wood work displayed there is mother of pearl inlayed coffer, clogs, spinning wheel, hand mill for grinding coffe, coffee coolers, mirror cases, spoon container, measuring cups, mortat stone, musical instruments and similar objects.
In cases no. 28 and 29 there are gold inlayed Korans from the Karaman Dynasty and Ottoman periods, decrees written in the courtly style, religious court decisions and Ahi Evran Fütüvetnamesi, the document which defines the rules which governed the guilds.
Case no. 30 has various samples of oil lamps in different forms.
Case no. 30 holds samples of silver Jewellery, hair ornaments, kıstı, şildir, coined fez and pocket watches
In case no. 32 there are examples of hand knitted socks and gloves which are still reproduced in the region.
In case no. 33 there are samples of bells of various size used for different animals.
Apart from these, in two table cases there are examples of objects such as weapons, gunpowder containers, candle cutters, spoons, door handles, whips, seals, cigarette holders and worry beads.
The museum also displays rug and kilim samples which are hung as panels between the display cases, a Asclepius statute in the Archaeological Materials Hall, one facade of a Sidemara type sarcophagus and a mummified female body from the Byzantine period.
In the lower floor section of the museum the restoration of which started last year there are cupboards, doors, shelves and fireplaces removed from Karaman houses and they are all mounted onto the walls. This section also contains some agricultural tools. However this part of the museum is not yet opened to the publicors.
In the upper floor, besides the administrative offices, there is a gallery where the artistic works of the students and the citizens of Karaman are exhibited periodically. The material and visitor status of the Museum as of the end of 1997 is as follows.
1- Number of archeologcal materials: 3911
2- Number of ethnographic materials: 2067
3- Number of coins: 6079
4- Number of visitors: 10637