In 1928 the Art and Archaeological Circle was founded in the town of Deinze. Apart from archaeological objects and documents, the association also quickly acquired works of arts. Over the years the town of Deinze had established a large collection of pieces through donations. The fact that the town council provided annual funding for works of art was a great contribution to the collection too.
In 1941 the town's long-standing intention to establish a museum was beginning to take shape. The museum would focus exclusively on works of artists from the Leie region, renowned for its School of Latem in the village of Sint-Martens-Latem. In 1942 the masterpiece 'De Bietenoogst' (The Beet Harvest) by Emile Claus was kindly donated by his widow, a key point in creating the museum.
The Town Museum was established on March 7th 1942. It was the first national museum with such a strong regional emphasis. The state allowed for lending pieces from its collection. The Archaeological Circle also lent several works, though archaeological objects and archives were held. The collection from the town of Deinze and the collection of the Circle were displayed in a neo-gothic edifice near the church of Deinze.
Due to purchases and donations, the art collection grew swiftly and the idea came about to construct a new museum. The development plans of 1968 took shape in 1977. The new museum, located near the town centre and alongside the river Leie, was inaugurated on November 28th 1981. It was the first Belgian building since World War II which had been specifically designed as a museum. It still reveals the original distinction between plastic arts and folk art.
The art collection of the current 'Museum of Deinze and the Leie region' consists exclusively of works made by artists living and/or working in the Leie region - as was intended at its establishment. The regional limitation has been a conscious and well thought-out choice. Consequently, the collection has not suffered from disintegration, a possible danger for every small museum. The Deinze Museum is a regional museum with national and even international appeal.