Marischal College was founded in 1593, becoming Aberdeen's second university. King's College had been founded in 1495. The two Colleges merged in 1860 to form the modern University of Aberdeen. Medicine and Law were taught at Marischal and Arts and Divinity at King's College.
Construction of the current Marischal College building began in the 1830s and a second phase was completed in 1906. This additional construction made it the second largest granite building in the world.
The teaching and research traditionally based at Marischal is now hosted at the Foresterhill and King's College campuses, and the Marischal College building is leased to Aberdeen City Council, and since 2009 has been the Council’s headquarters.
Until 2008 the Marischal Museum was open to the public at Marischal College. The building still houses closed displays and the collections are available to view online in a virtual museum.