After the First World War, in 1919, Suleyman Fikri ERTEN took action on attempts to move antiquities that the Italians had seen exposed during the occupation of Antalya to the Italian Consulate. Süleyman Fikri Bey, who was a teacher at Antalya High School, started his attempts to establish a museum by applying to the Antalya Governorship and having him appointed as an honorary Asar-ı Atika officer on October 15, 1919. First of all, he collected the ancient artifacts in the abandoned Bayraktar Baba Tomb opposite the Tekeli Mehmet Pasha Mosque and created a warehouse museum. The first museum building was created after the artifacts were moved to the Panaya Church (Alâaddin Mosque), one of the five churches left by the Greeks after the population exchange in 1922. In 1937, the Museum was moved to the Yivli Minare Mosque and then to the building that is in use today in 1972. Antalya Museum serves an area of 30,000 square meters.
Apart from the indoor exhibition halls and open-air galleries in the museum; there is a children's section, a modern art exhibition hall, a conference hall, a cafeteria, and a video screening hall, and many works are exhibited in a wide range from the Lower Paleolithic Age to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Period. Among them are; Natural History and Prehistory Collection, Regional and Museum Rescue Excavations Collection, ceramics and terracotta artifacts reflecting the Classical Age and Roman Period pottery tradition, the sculpture group containing mostly Perge origin friezes, mythological characters, God and Emperor statues, urns, and sarcophagi reflecting the burial traditions; In addition to these, jewelry, coins, mosaics, icons, metal and glass works come to the fore. In particular, the Antalya Museum can be considered one of the most important museums in the world with its Roman Decapitation works found in Perge and its interesting and unique finds unearthed from the museum’s rescue excavations. The museum was awarded the "Special Prize of the Museum of the Year of the Council of Europe" in 1988.