The purpose to which the Croatian Academy Glyptotheque is put makes it a unique institution in Croatia.  It was founded in 1937, its name then being the Gypsotheque, the aim being to present plaster casts of the immoveable monuments of the Croatian cultural heritage.  Over the course of time, its museum holdings were enriched with numerous important works of Croatian sculpture of the 19th and 20th century, and when the Gypsotheque became a constituent part of the Croatian Academy of Science and Art, it was renamed Glyptotheque.  Today its holdings contain over 13,000 items.

The Glyptotheque (from the Greek glyptos – carved and theka – case; originally a collection of gems, and expanded to cover a sculpture museum) is located in the one-time tannery and leather industry facility the construction of which started in 1864 and gradually expanded until it was the biggest industrial plant in Zagreb.  A fire destroyed most of the plant in 1926, and in 1938 the tannery went out of business.   The founder of the Gypsotheque, Dr Antun Bauer, was the initiator of the move in 1940 to the one-time industrial facility of the tannery.  During World War II, there were various depots in the major part of the complex, but since 1950 the Glyptotheque has been a constituent part of the Croatian Academy, and has turned into a sculpture museum in which creative works of sculpture from antiquity until the present time can be seen.   In 2000, a Sculpture Park was created alongside the existing complex (realisation: Academician Miroslav Begović).  Today, the Glyptotheque has a floor area of more than 14,000 square metres, and keeps and exhibits the biggest sculpture collection in Croatia, of both plaster casts and original works of Croatian sculpting of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The museum holdings of the Glyptotheque were built up from donations, from works given for keeping and from purchases.  The Croatian Academy Glyptotheque is a member of ICOM, UNESCO’s International Committee for Museums.