The first museum in the town was founded in 1959. Our institute is named after Dornyay Béla the high school teacher, who initiated in the 1920s to found a museum in Salgótarján.
Today our institution is a county-range town museum.
The collections developed in the 1980s are: historical material and historical documentation collections, artistic, literary, numismatic collections, and utility collections. The foundation of the separate industrial and technical history, archaeological, and ethnographic collections is in progress (since 2011).
The institution (after two temporary buildings) moved to the current building designed by Magyar Géza in 1980. The edifice was designed specifically for museum purposes. (It was the first of its kind in Hungary after 1927.) The building became a protected monument in 2005.
Permanent exhibition: New Age Nógrád: Historical Exhibition in 7 Pictures. The exhibition provides a historical overview of Nógrád county, from the gentry and county worlds, through the world of modernism until the age of wars and revolutions, then it ends with the memories of the creative spirit.
The Picture Gallery of the Dornyay Béla Museum is based on the Mihályfi collection, which is the most valuable part of the artistic collection. The collection of Mihályfi Ernő (1898-1972, eminent publicist) mainly consists of the artworks of prominent avant-garde Hungarian artists prominently active between the two world wars (Uitz Béla, Derkovits Gyula, Mattis Teutsch János, Pór Bertalan, etc.) but we can also find paintings and graphic works of artists, who had a specific life path (Gulácsy Lajos, Mednyánszky László, Rippl-Rónai József, etc.).