The museum features a permanent exhibit about the history of the city of Haarlem, as well as a regularly changing programme of temporary exhibitions highlighting artists from the Haarlem community or exhibitions about remarkable things about the city. You can start your visit with a film about the city of Haarlem as you overlook a model of the city that lights up to show you different places of historical interest. The building the museum is located in also has a rich and diverse history, much like Haarlem itself. Originally, the building housed The St. Elisabeth Gasthuis, a hospital founded by an unknown Maecenas, dating back to 1597. Subsequently, the building had several other lives, including as the Haarlem Jazz Club before becoming Haarlem Museum in 1990.