In the 1960s Félix Alfaro Fournier donated a collection of arms and other related objects to the Provincial Council of Álava, representing the origin of the Álava Arms Museum The said collection increased over the following decades through successive purchases and other donations.
In 1966 the “Casa Armera de los Gobeo-Guevara San Juan”, a restored building in the historic centre of the city, became the shared home of the Arms Museum and the Museum of Archaeology, however, it proved far too small to house both exhibitions. In 1975, after the Provincial Council of Álava acquired the Palace of Ajuria Enea, the annex buildings were refurbished to provide the Arms Museum with a permanent home.
The collection consists mainly of offensive and defensive weapons, and related accoutrements dating from Prehistory to the beginning of the 20th century, as well as various objects that provide complementary information. It is laid out on two floors and is arranged chronologically.
A section dedicated to African, Oriental and Arabic weapons features a huge variety of pieces, from prehistoric spears from Central Africa to valuable late 16th century Japanese Samurai armour.
A special section in the Museum is dedicated to the Battle of Vitoria that took place in 1813, towards the end of the War of Independence, in which the French troops, already in retreat, were defeated by the British, Spanish and Portuguese armies. This particular conflict is illustrated by means of personal objects belonging to certain characters that were involved, weapons used on the day, models and dioramas of the most decisive moments.
The importance of the Álava Arms Museum lies not only in the significance of the collection, but also in that it shows how important arms production was in the Basque Country between the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the emergence of a large number of workshops and weapons factories that are also represented in the exhibition space.