On August 15, 1949, National Museum, New Delhi, was inaugurated in the Rashtrapati Bhawan by Shri C. Rajagopalachari, the Governor-General of India. The foundation of the present building was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, on May 12, 1955. The first phase of the National Museum building was formally inaugurated by Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the Vice President of India, on December 18, 1960. The second phase of the building was completed in 1989.
While the Museum continued to grow its collection through gifts that were sought painstakingly, artefacts were collected through its Arts Purchase Committee. The Museum presently holds approximately 2,00,000 objects of a diverse nature, both Indian as well as foreign, and its holdings cover a time span of more than five thousand years of Indian cultural heritage.
National Museum was initially looked after by the Director General of Archaeology until 1957, when the Ministry of Education, Government of India, declared it a separate institution and placed it under its own direct control. At present, National Museum is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.