The Greco-Roman Museum was officially opened on 17 October 1892 by Khedive Abbas Helmy the Second. Giuseppe Botti, an Italian, had undertaken the task of creating a museum in Alexandria dedicated to the Greco-Roman period.
Interest in this period had begun in earnest after 1866, when Mahmoud El-Falaki completed his excavations in Alexandria, bringing to light the plan of the ancient city. Interest in the museum was enhanced by the formation of the Society of Archaeology in Alexandria in 1893.
Initially, the collections were housed in part of a building situated in Rosetta Street, which is now El-Horreih Road. Construction of the first ten galleries of the present building was completed in 1895. The additional galleries (numbers 11 to 16) were completed in 1899 and the facade was completed in 1900. Some of the Greco-Roman artifacts, especially the coin collection, were obtained from the Bulaq Museum (now the Egyptian Museum) in Cairo.
When Giuseppe Botti assumed responsibility for the management of the museum, he enriched it with collections obtained from his excavations in the city and its environs. When Evaristo Breccia and Achille Adriani subsequently took charge of the museum, they continued to supply it with objects from excavations in Alexandria. They also began to obtain artifacts for the museum from excavations in the Fayium region.
The collections in the museum mostly date from the third century BC to the third century AD, spanning the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. The collections are categorized and organized in 27 rooms with some objects exhibited in the small garden.