The conception of a museum commemorating the German-Soviet War after the end of Nazi occupation sprung up even before the close of the war. The museum first opened shortly after the liberation of Minsk from the Nazi invaders, on 25 October 1944, making it the first World War II museum to open during the course of the war. It relocated to its current location in 1966.
The museum has 24 exhibition halls. As of 2012 there were 142,676 items in the museum's collection.
The museum staff also engages in historical research: particular areas include Belarusians in the Red Army, local anti-fascist and partisan activity, and the history of the Auschwitz death camp.