A premiere for Iași in the field of art is also represented by the construction of the first museum of art in the country, in 1860, hosted in this palace since 1957. Initially “The Picture Gallery” – like the Museum of Art of Iași was called, was hosted by the Old University and started with only 12 paintings bought from Paris by the forty-eighter revolutionary Scarlat Vârnav. The initiative was liked by Iași intellectuals who donated paintings from their own collections, such as the 39 paintings donated by Costache Negri. Developed throughout the years, the museum’s collection comprises about 10 thousand paintings, sculptures and graphic works. Among the famous paintings of Romanian painters, are the ones signed by Nicolae Grigorescu, Octav Băncilă, Theodor Pallady or Nicolae Tonitza.
The popular art is celebrated through the Ethnographic Museum of Moldavia. Founded in 1943, the museum has nowadays exhibits which cover the entire area of historical Moldavia. The items reflect, thematically, the life style and rituals, such as marriage, ancient occupations, traditional architecture and social organization this area. Traditional clothes are one of the main point of attraction of the Museum, here being illustrated specific Moldavian motifs, which began to be used more and more in current outfits.
The “Ștefan Procopiu” Museum of Science and Technique brings in front the unique collection of musical machines in the section of “Sound recording and rendition”. These exhibits are valued with the occasion of the International Festival of Mechanical Music, when tens of organ grinders from all over the world come to fill the city streets with their music. The museum also has photo cameras, calculus and writing machines, meteorology or telecommunication instruments.