The Iron Gates Museum was founded in 1912 by the professor Al. Barcacila. It was named „Traian High School Historical Museum”. In 1926 the museum moved into a new building , next to the Roman Castrum.
After 1945, the museum gains importance and extends its research fields, being named The Iron Gates Region Museum.
In time, with new acquisitions (a substantial part coming from C.I. Istrati’s personal collection), the museum expanded. In 1972, the museum was inaugurated in its current form, with over 100,000 pieces including four sections: history, natural sciences, ethnography and folklore&art.
The history section included over 50,000 science pieces dating from the latter Paleolithic, crossing the ages until the last century. Remarkable is the 8,000-year-old Homo Sapiens discovered at Schela Cladovei. A vast room displays vestiges of ancient and medieval Drobeta (collections of weapons, coins, jewelry, pottery). The history-archaeology department consists of nine rooms: Prehistory – vestiges of the material and spiritual culture of Schela Cladovei, geto-dacian civilization, daco-romans war, ancient roman monuments (the bridge from Drobeta, built between 103-105), spiritual life of Drobeta , medieval history, modern age, romanian feudal art and contemporary era.
Natural scineces section included a rich flora and fauna area specific to the Danube Gorge region, many geological proofs and a fascinanting aquarium with different species of fish from the Danube.
Ethnography and folklore section shows aspects of Mehedinți rural civilization, astonishing national costumes, samples of interior decoration of the rural houses, an extension of Ada-Kaleh Island, pottery from Șișesti and other objects specific to the traditional occupations.
The Art Museum building is a veritable monument of architecture. Stylistically speaking, it is part of the architectural unity of the city dominated by Western baroqued ecclesiasticalism. It contains works of Romanian art (works of Pallady, Tonitza, Petrascu, Luchian, Sirato, Stoenescu, Ressu, Iser)
A permanent exhibition of the museum was set up at the Iron Gates water dam. Other exhibits are to be found at Cula lui Tudor Vladimirescu, a memorial museum situated in the Valea Albă Village – Cerneți.