In 1895 the Birthplace Cottage was bought as a surprise 60th birthday present for Andrew Carnegie by his wife Louise and then let out to tenants. With the creation of the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust (1903), a caretaker was installed and in 1908 the Cottage was opened to the public.

After the death of her husband (11 August 1919) Mrs. Carnegie proposed and funded the erection of a Memorial Treasure House adjoining the Birthplace.

Work began in 1925 on the design by architect James Shearer RSA and the linked buildings of the Cottage and Memorial Hall were formally opened on 28 June 1928.

The Museum has undergone many stages of development over the years, including a major upgrade in 2008. With the introduction of conservation grade display cases, colourful window panels, improved interpretation and interactive touch screens, the quality of the visitor experience has been greatly enhanced.