The building was completed in 1952 and the museum and its galleries were opened to the public. It does not consider itself just a repository of collections but a centre for learning and recreation. It was set up because the then citizens of the city, which included many stalwarts from the Independence movement, saw Allahabad as a city that was rich culturally, geographically and historically. The need for such a museum was established and a range of artefacts from the Rewa provinces formed part of the collection as did personal collections of leaders such as Nehru.
The museum collection includes stone sculptures, terracottas, miniature paintings, modern Indian paintings, seals, sealing, coins, miniature objects, handicrafts, firmans, manuscripts, arms, inscriptions, thangkas.
The museum has a library.