The history of the Museum begins over a hundred years ago on the corner of Pomona and Wilshire Avenues at the Gem Pharmacy, which was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. William Starbuck. Later, with the help of donations from local residents the Starbucks began the first Traveling Circulating Library in the back room of the pharmacy.
As the City of Fullerton grew so did the need for educational resources. In 1904, Mayor C.C. Chapman proposed constructing a city library. Land was purchased on the corners of Pomona and Wilshire Avenues and a grant from the Carnegie Foundation helped with the construction of the building. December 16, 1907, marked the opening of the new Carnegie Library.
By 1938 the Carnegie Library no longer filled the needs of the community. Funding from the Federal Works Agency Projects Administration (WPA) enabled construction of a new building to begin in 1940. Local architect Harry Vaughn, known for his work in the Spanish Colonial Style, was hired to design the building. On Christmas Eve of 1941 the new WPA Library was completed.
The Fullerton Museum Association was founded in June 1971 by members of the Youth Center Board of Trustees and other interested citizens after signing a lease with the City for the library, which, in 1973, moved to its present location on Amerige and Short Street.
Muse 9 opened at the site of the former library in April of 1974 with its first permanent collection: an assemblage of bones acquired from the La Brea Tar Pits. To attract a broader audience Muse 9 was renamed the Museum Association of North Orange County and on February 21, 1985, underwent major renovations and took on its present name of the Fullerton Museum Center.