As the oldest museum institution in Croatia, the Split Archaeological Museum was founded in 1820 by the decree of the Dalmatian government in Zadar. The incentive for the establishment of the Museum was provided by the visit of Emperor Francis I to Dalmatia in 1818, which also included visits to Split and Solin. The original museum building was erected in 1821 next to the eastern walls of Diocletian's Palace but soon became too small to house the growing number of monuments.
A new era in the development of archaeology in Croatia is associated with the work and activity of Father Frano Bulic, director of the Split Museum since 1884.
Father Frano Bulic (Vranjic, 1846 - Zagreb, 1934), a catholic priest, archaeologist, historian, and conservator, had for more than 50 years been working as a field researcher, conservator and writer. He is known as the founder of the Croatian archaeological society "Bihac" that was established in Split in 1894.