The Brest Fortress Defense Museum is located in the restored part of defensive barrack of the fortress built on the central island Citadel in 1842. The Citadel is a historical monument and landmark of 19th century and now it is protected by the State according to the Decision of Ministerial council of BSSR of 18 May 1953 № 625.
The museum was opened on November, 8 1956 and it was subordinate to Political management of the district (the Order of 2 August 1956 № 78 «About a perpetuation of the memory of Brest fortress defenders» by the commander of troops of the Belarus military district Marshal of Soviet Union S.K.Timoshenko according to the Instruction of the commander-in-chief of Land forces of the Marshal of Soviet Union I.S.Konev dated from 17 July 1956). Captain A.A.Krupennikov was appointed chief of a museum.
The Museum was created on the basis of the room-museum which had been opened earlier, on 23 February 1956, on the barracks ground floor of the field engineer battalion of 128th army corps. A room of battle glory had been opened before that. Here the objects from excavations were stored; the material about the defense of the fortress was collected.
The museum operated under the garrison Officers' Club. The first exposition was created. After the date of the museum opening the funds were established where all the finds and also the exhibits were passed from leading museums of Moscow and Leningrad. Within the next five years research workers were collecting materials about participants of the fortress defense, meeting with the defenders and collecting museum subjects and memoirs, they were also arranging exhibitions and conducting excursions.
On June, 3 1958 the Central Committee of Belarus Communist Party and Ministerial Council of BSSR accepted the Decision «About Brest Fortress Defense Museum» which charged to central administrative board of architecture affairs under Ministerial council BSSR to develop a general layout of Brest fortress territory improvement. In such a way the memorization of the events began.
In 1959 the museum was accepted for the International Association of Museums of Arms and Military History.
In the September of the same year military units were withdrawn from the Citadel (the Central Island) and from the northeast unit of Kobrin fortification, the entrance in the fortress became free without permits.
In 1960 the collection of memoirs «Heroic defense» was sent to the publishing house «Belarus» (Minsk). Research workers of the museum developed the thematic plan of the creation of an exposition in 9 halls. On 1 January 1961 there were 8 108 units of storage in funds.
The 20 anniversary of the heroic defense of the Citadel over the Bug became one of significant events of 1961. The first meeting of Brest fortress defenders was held. More than 100 survived soldiers of the garrison of 1941, members of their families, relatives of the dead arrived at the meeting.
On June, 25 the meeting, which was devoted to this significant date, took place, the inset granite stone was mounted at the place of the future monument, a new exposition of the museum was solemnly opened.
The display area increased by 2.5 times and was 1 000 м2. Simultaneously on the ground floor the exhibition of portraits of the fortress defenders, paintings and the sketches which were carried out by the artist P.S.Durchin was placed. The same day Park of Brest Heroes was laid at East fort.
In 1963 the museum of defense and Brest fortress was into a route of the All-Union Society «Intourist».
On May, 28 1964 the writer S.S.Smirnov passed to the museum all his archives which he had been collecting for ten years.