The people of Blaenavon have long been proud of their heritage and in 1997 local residents, led by the late Robert Gulliford and the late Allan Mathews, decided to form a voluntary group to promote tourism and heritage in the Blaenavon area. In 2000 that group became a registered charity (the Blaenafon Heritage group) and it aspired to form a museum for the community of Blaenavon. In 2002, with the support of Torfaen County Borough Council, which had acquired the effects of the late novelist Alexander Cordell, the group established the Blaenavon Community Heritage and Alexander Cordell Museum. Initially, the museum was based in the basement of the newly opened Blaenavon library building in Lion Street.

Over the next 13 years the museum went from strength to strength with volunteers collecting hundreds of local artefacts and photographs and digitising thousands of local records. Despite a number of the early members passing away, the museum has continued to attract a large number of volunteers who kept the museum running without interruption. However, in 2015 the volunteers were informed by Torfaen CBC that the Blaenavon Library Building would be closed.

After much discussion, the museum was relocated and became a very significant part of the range of groups and activities based in Blaenavon Workmens Hall, another iconic building in the town, (largely funded by Blaenavon workers in 1894). Since then, the museum has been working towards becoming fully accredited and this has provided an excellent opportunity for volunteers to develop a variety of new skills and to learn more about the collections and their significance to the town and the area. In 2018, as part of the next stage in its development, the museum developed its own website