The origin of the Museum and Institute dates back to the 19th century. After purchasing the zoological collection of Baron Sylwiusz Minckwitz from Gronowice in Silesia in 1818 , the Commission of Religion and Public Education of the Polish Kingdom created the Zoological Cabinet at the Chair of Zoology of the Royal University of Warsaw in 1819.
Its first curator being Doctor of Liberal Arts and Philosophy, Feliks Pawel Jarocki, soon nominated an "adopted professor" and the head of the Chair of Zoology. Minckwitz's collection included about 20,000 specimens, among which the bird collection was especially valuable. A part of the collection has been preserved till now in the Museum's collection.