Paintings of the 19th century and the Classical Modern adorn the historical rooms of the museum.
The museum is located in two palatial houses dating from the 18th century: Behn House and Dräger House. In addition to the significant collections of paintings and sculptures from the 19th century and the Classical Modern period, the historical rooms have exhibits of interior decoration dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. In particular, the "private quarters of the lord and lady of the house" situated in a wing of Behnhaus (Behn House) are some of the most eminent neoclassical interiors in North Germany. Drägerhaus (Dräger House) features a remarkable collection of rooms created according to French models with a Rococo-style festival suite unique in Lübeck. The collection housed in the two buildings focuses primarily on art from the Age of Romanticism and the Nazarenes. These include works by Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Blechen, Carl Gustav Carus and Lübeck's Friedrich Overbeck. The collection of Classical Modern art includes paintings by Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, Max Slevogt, Gotthardt Kuehl, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and principally those of Edvard Munch who was active in Lübeck at the beginning of the 20th century. Thanks to the interplay of art gallery and historical building, the house is considered one of the most beautiful museums in North Germany.
From 3 January 2022 to 12 March 2022, the entire museum will be closed for renovation work. This also affects the Buddenbrookhaus interim exhibition "Buddenbrooks im Behnhaus" currently housed in the building.