The permanent exhibition is housed in the family home of Jan Matejko (1838–1893)—the most prominent Polish historicist painter, collector, and lover of historical monuments, particularly of Krakow. The old Kraków house (reconstructed in the 18th and 19th centuries) is the place where the painter was born, lived with his family, worked and died. After the artist's death, a Jan Matejko Society was established, which set itself the task of honouring the outstanding painter by creating a biographical museum dedicated to him. In the house, bought from his family, various exhibits connected with the figure of Jan Matejko and his family were collected, and presented to the public for the first time as early as 1898. In 1904, the Jan Matejko Society transferred the biographical museum it had created to the management of the National Museum in Krakow.
Today, the collection of the Jan Matejko House consists of some 6,000 exhibits. They include objects of everyday use and mementos of the artist and his loved ones: his wife Teodora Matejkowa, née Giebułtowska (1846–1896), his children: Tadeusz (1865–1911), Helena Unierzyska (1867–1932), Beata Kirchmayerowa (1869–1926), Jerzy (1873–1827) and Regina (1878–1878). The collection includes letters, official documents, jubilee mementos, tributes and, above all, oil works and drawings, objects from Matejko's collection, which he collected throughout his life, works by other artists, family photographs and photographs taken in the 19th century of the master's paintings and a collection of books and sheet music belonging to him.