On 27th December 1887, the Austro-Hungarian Bank opened its fi rst branch in Bolzano at 49 Laubengasse/Via dei Portici. Soon it became clear, however, that the office premises were not large enough, therefore a new plot of land measuring 783 sqm was bought in 1910 for 85,000 Krones (the equivalent of 1.2 million euros). This would become a new branch of the bank, located at the corner of Museumstrasse/Via Museo and the then Kaiserin-Elisabeth-Strasse (now called Sparkassenstrasse/via Cassa di Risparmio).
The design of the new building was commissioned to the architect Rudolf Eiser. Construction work began in autumn 1912 and on 18th October 1913, the building was already occupied. The cost of the works amounted to about 370,000 Krones.
The new branch of the Austro-Hungarian bank did not last long, however. After Austria lost World War I and ceded the southern part of Tyrol to Italy, the building became the property of the central bank of Italy, which opened a branch of Banca d’Italia there.
During the 1980’s the building was bought by the Province of Bolzano-Bozen, and in 1996 reconstruction began in order to make the building suitable for housing the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. The museum was opened on 28th March 1998.
The original building structure was preserved, along with its Neo-Baroque and Art Nouveau elements, and also the flooring of both the museum entrance and the stairs.