The building was erected in 1911-1913 as the headquarters of a fire insurance company.
After World War II it was used for a few months by first the American army, followed by the Soviet NVKD (a forerunner of the KGB), and than K5, the Stasi´s predecessor. In 1950, one year after the foundation of th German Democratic Republic (GDR), it became the district headquarters of the Ministry of State Security, or Stasi for short.
The linoleum flooring, yellow wallpaper, folding grills on the doors and windows, cable ducts and radiators were all fitted after 1950. The Citizens Committee Leipzig reatined most of these items in order to make the setting authentic.
The museum started out of an temporary exhibition entitled ”Stasi – Power and Banality”, which was first opened on 10 June 1990 on Sachsenplatz and visited by between 2,500 and 3,000 people every day. This enormous interest prompted efforts to organise a permanent venue, which resulted in the exhibition being reopened here in the ”Runde Ecke” on 31 August 1990.