The Historischer Verein von Oberbayern (Historical Association of Upper Bavaria) promotes historical scholarship and research on the levels of state, region and city, the preservation of cultural heritage, of history, art and culture, and disseminates the historical knowledge regarding Upper Bavaria to a wide audience.
The Association was founded in 1837 and since 1943 has been located at the Stadtarchiv München (Munich Municipal Archive). The present c.1,800 members (effective: March 2016) are invited to attend monthly lectures on historical and art historical topics. In addition, special events and guided tours take place at irregular intervals. Once a year, the association holds a daylong excursion to a place of historical/art historical interest located within the area covered by the association or in the adjacent regions. From 2009, yearly summer festivities have been organised jointly by the Historischer Verein and the Stadtarchiv München.
In 1839, the yearbook entitled Oberbayerisches Archiv was published for the first time and serves for the dissemination of historical knowledge about Upper Bavaria to this day. The yearbook is the sole scholarly journal that is dedicated entirely to upper Bavarian themes. So far 139 volumes have appeared.
From the start, the Historischer Verein von Oberbayern developed not only a busy activity as regards lectures and publications but also began immediately with the creation of a library as well as of diverse collections (charters and manuscripts, maps and plans, Roman and Mediaeval coins and antiquarian objects) of important documents and objects. The collecting activities of the Association thereby took off long before the foundation of the most important historically oriented museums in Munich (e.g. in 1855 the foundation of the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum [Bavarian National Museum] or in 1888 the foundation of the Münchner Stadtmuseum [Munich Municipal Museum]).
During the late 1930s, the Historischer Verein von Oberbayern decided to give up completely its collections because of lack of space. The Stadtarchiv München (Munich Municipal Archive) took them on in 1943. Since the collections were moved to safety immediately after having been adopted, they survived WWII unscathed.
In the 1970s, the board and committee of the Historischer Verein decided to leave all the works of art, which could not be curated appropriately in the Stadtarchiv, to public institutions and collections as permanent loans or donations in exchange for free entry for its members. Consequently, objects went to the Archäologische Staatssammlung (Archaeological State Collection, then Prähistorische Staatssammlung [Prehistorical State Collection]), to the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Paintings Gallery or Alte/Old Pinakothek), to the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften (the Bavarian Academy of Sciences), the Münchner Stadtmuseum, to the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (Bavarian National Museum), to the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München (State Collection of Prints and Drawings Munich) as well as to the Diözesanmuseum Freising (Diocesan Museum Freising). Finally, in 1996, the drawings and sketchbooks from the estate of the artist Johann Georg von Dillis (1759–1841) were given as a permanent loan to the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Municipal Gallery at the Lenbachhaus). The library, the collection of documents and the so-called "Bildersammlung" (paintings collection) remained at the Stadtarchiv München.