With donations from the provincial government, the famous Orientalist Sir William Muir and the Maharaja of Vijaynagaram, a superintendent of library and museum was appointed and an ornate building was inaugurated in 1878 to house the collection. For unforeseen reasons the museum closed down in 1881. The initiative to reopen the museum was taken by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the President of the Allahabad Municipal Board in 1923-24. Under the operational direction of Pandit Brij Mohan Vyas, the executive officer of the board, a museum was opened in the Municipal Building in 1931. Under the tutelage of Pandit Vyas, the museum acquired important collections, including ancient sculptures from Bharhut and Bhumra. In 1942, S.C. Kala the first curator gave the much needed impetus to enriching the collections of the museum, especially adding the Nehru Personalia Collection and the Bengal School Paintings. As space became a constraint, it was decided that the museum should be shifted from the Municipal Board building to new premises. The foundation stone of the present museum building was laid on 14th December 1947 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and the museum was opened to the public in 1954.
Important objects of museum collection have been displayed in the Sixteen Galleries of the Museum including one gallery for temporary exhibitions. These galleries are:
- Introductory Gallery: The central hall of the Allahabad Museum is called introductory gallery as it contains a representative collection of paintings of AK Haldar, sculptures, Pistol of Chandra Shekhar Azad and an Ivory chariot gifted to Pt. Nehru from Karnataka.
- Archaeological Gallery/Rock Art Gallery: A representative collection of objects connected with Harappan culture and Copper hoard culture are on display. Seals and sealings collection containing names of individuals, trading guilds, kings, nobles, officials and educational institutions are also an important attraction.
- Terracotta Gallery: The Museum has a rich collection of more than six thousand terracotta objects belonging to Kausambi, Jhusi, Ahichchhtra, Rajghat, Patna, Buxar, Chandraketugarh and various other places of U.P., Bihar and Bengal. Gajalakshmi, standing Lakshmi on lotus are some of the exquisite pieces in the terracotta collection.
- Early Sculpture Gallery: The stone sculptures include exquisite panels, coping stones etc. from Bharhut, Kushana sculptures from Mathura, Gupta sculptures and 11th century carvings from Khajuraho. The masterpieces of stone sculpture includes the tasselled head of Shiva projecting from a stone linga which potrays the classical purity of Gupta art. A blue schist Bodhisattva resembling the image of Greek God Apollo depicting the syncretisation of Indo-Greek styles. The bejeweled yakshis from Jamsot are the finest sculptures in this gallery.
- Medieval Sculpture Gallery: The sculptures dating back to medieval period are displayed in this gallery. Prominent among these are Uma Maheshwar, Chamunda, Varah, Adinath, Jamsot Nayika, Vishnu etc.
- Miniature Painting Gallery: The painting of 18-19th century paintings from Rajasthani, Mughal, Kangra styles are displayed here.
- Literary Gallery: This gallery mainly contains personalia collections of Pt. Sumitranandan Pant, ‘Nirala’ and Mahadevi Verma. Besides these, collection of Prem chand, Ram Kumar Verma and Naresh Mehta are displayed.
- Natural History Gallery: This gallery houses the stuffed species of avies, reptiles and mammals including various species of migratory birds, leopard, cub, tiger, peacock, ostrich etc.
- Gandhi Gallery: It contains photographs of Mahatma Gandhi from his days in South Africa to his involvement in the Freedom Struggle in India. It also has on display original salt made by Gandhi at Dandi. The pocket watch of Mahatma Gandhi and brass caskets in which Mahatma’s ashes were taken to Sangam, Allahabad and the Ford vehicle that carried the ashes of Gandhi to Sangam for immersion is parked in a separate enclosure outside the Museum.
- Nehru Gallery: This gallery contains the personalia collection of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru including welcome addresses, autobiography of Nehru, caskets and photographs from Pt. Nehru childhood to his last days. A golden stick and a model of Anand Bhawan add lustre to the gallery.
- Decorative Art Gallery: Beautiful wooden furnitures glazed pottery including Deft ware from Holland and pottery from China and ivory carving are the most attractive items in the collection here.
- Arms, Armours and Bronze Gallery: The Museum also possesses a variety of arms and armours including medieval swords, body armour, antique pistols and small daggers. The pride of place is occupied by a gold sword cover gifted to the museum by the Governor of Uttar Pradesh.
- Textile Gallery: It contains several exquisite textiles including Baluchari Saree and Zari work.
- Modern Indian Painting Gallery: Allahabad Museum has a large collection of Bengal School of Art and Modern Painting of Anagarika Govind, Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich. Among the works of the Bengal School the museum has the largest collection of the paintings of Asit Kumar Haldar.
- Freedom Struggle Gallery: It contains the photographs from Revolt of 1857 to India’s independence. It also contains valuable letters of Mahatma Gandhi. The gallery has on display valuable match box labels printed in Sweden, Japan and Australia and the sword and dress of Liaqat Ali of Allahabad. Publications: Museum has published number of Books, Catalogues, Seminar proceedings in order to encourage research and education and a variety of souvenir items like replicas of sculptures, picture post cards, prints of original paintings. Some important publications are:- Retrospect and Prospect (1955), Master Pieces in the Allahabad Museum (1984), Shunga Art (1991), Tolstoy and Gandhi (1993), Indian Art and Culture (1994), Kalidasa aur Unka Yug (1998), Srijan aur Parivesh (1998), Magh Inscription in the Allahabad Museum (1999), Allahabad Ke Chitrakar (2000), Flora and Fauna in Art (2000), Shriradha (2001), Dastavez (2004), Srijan aur Parivesh, Bhag-2 (2005) Rabindranath Tagore and his association with Uttar Pradesh (2012), Kala Purusharth (2013).
Museum has published number of Books, Catalogues, Seminar proceedings in order to encourage research and education and a variety of souvenir items like replicas of sculptures, picture post cards, prints of original paintings. Some important publications are:
Retrospect and Prospect (1955), Master Pieces in the Allahabad Museum (1984), Shunga Art (1991), Tolstoy and Gandhi (1993), Indian Art and Culture (1994), Kalidasa aur Unka Yug (1998), Srijan aur Parivesh (1998), Magh Inscription in the Allahabad Museum (1999), Allahabad Ke Chitrakar (2000), Flora and Fauna in Art (2000), Shriradha (2001), Dastavez (2004), Srijan aur Parivesh, Bhag-2 (2005) Rabindranath Tagore and his association with Uttar Pradesh (2012), Kala Purusharth (2013).
- Guided gallery tours on prior intimation.
- Free participation in Lectures, Seminars, other Educational Activities & events.
- Publications, Plaster cast & Fiberglass replicas of stone and terracotta objects and other Souvenirs are sold at the sale counter.
- Library for researchers and students.
- Open on all days except Monday and Sunday following second Saturday & Government of India Gazetted Holidays.
- Timings: 10 am to 5 pm.
- Ticket Counter Closes at 4.30 pm.
- Photography is allowed on payment.
In recent years National Seminars are being organised regularly such as i. Tagore and his association with Uttar Pradesh (2012) ii. Harappan-Gangetic Connection: Recent Archaeological Perspective (2012), iii. Kala evam Purusharth (2013). Exploration of Ganga valley and collection of artifacts have been done as part of the academic initiative of the Allahabad Museum.
Museum organises and hosts exhibitions based on its various collections and solo and group exhibitions of senior and budding artists in the museum and outreach exhibitions. Museum has also mounted the outreach exhibitions by sending its objects to various exhibitions organised by different organizations. Some of them are Paintings of Nocholas Roerich and Paintings of Asit Kumar Haldar. Allahabad Museum has hosted a major exhibitions with other museums and institutions. Outreach exhibitions are being organised in collaboration with other institutions.
Museum’s objects were sent for an exhibition ‘The Body in Indian Art’ organized under Europalia India Festival 2013 at Brussels, Belgium in October, 2013.
The Allahabad Museum started monsoon festival or Ullas in order to bring more visitors as part of audience augmentation programme Ullas is being organised regularly in the month of July. The Monsoon festival ULLAS includes the programme on music, dance, literature and paintings. Basant Utsav is celebrated as part of the spring festivities in March.
The Allahabad Museum celebrated its foundation day on 28th February. On this occasion Museum’s building is illuminated. A heritage walk is also taken out on the occasion. The heritage walk took place from the site of the old Museum building in the Nagar Mahapalika. In heritage walk The public of Allahabad, school children and eminent personalities took part in the heritage walk on occasion of the Foundation Day.
This 47 model V-8-Ford Truck has been maintained in its original form and is on display in a separate enclosure. The Gandhi Smriti Vahan (The Memorial Vehicle) carried the ashes of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi from Allahabad Railway Station to the Sangam on February 12, 1948.
The Museum has a fully air-conditioned Auditorium, named after Pt. Brij Mohan Vyas with a seating capacity of 150 persons and a Conference room with a seating capacity of forty persons. Both are well equipped with public address system.