National Museum of Iran

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National Museum of Iran
  • موزه ی ملیِ ایران
  • Muze ye Melli ye Irān
National Museum of Persia.jpg
Established 1937
Location Tehran, Iran
Type Archaeology museum
Collection size Archaeological collections from Paleolithic to Qajar period
Director Jebrael Nokandeh

The National Museum of Iran (Persian: موزه ی ملیِ ایران - Muze ye Melli ye Irān‎) is located in Tehran, Iran.

It is the combination of two buildings which include the Museum of Archaeological Iran ("Muze ye Irān e Bāstān", a brick, Sasanian revival building inaugurated in 1937), and the modernistic white travertine Museum of the Islamic Era ("Muze ye Dowrān e Eslāmi", inaugurated in 1972).

It is the best place to see the history of the Persia through preserved ancient and medieval Persian antiquities. These works include fine pottery vessels, historic metal objects, textiles remains from different regions of Iran, and also some rare books and coins.[1]

There are a number of research departments in the museum, including Paleolithic and Osteological departments, and a center for Pottery Studies.


The main entrance of building 1 of the museum is built in the style of Sassanid vaults, particularly the iwan of Ctesiphon.

The Museum of Ancient Iran or Iran-e Bastan was designed by French architect Andre Godard in the early 20th century. It has a built area of approximately 11000 square meters. Began in 1935 and completed within two years by Abbas Ali Memar and Morad Tabrizi, the museum building was officially inaugurated in 1937.

The second building, Museum of the Islamic Era, built on the grassy grounds of the old one, went through quite a few and hasty changes of the interior, and was still being remodeled when the Revolution of 1979 swept the country.

While the old building always had a clear mandate to show archaeological relics (to also include some rare medieval textiles and rug pieces), the new building began its life by featuring the exquisite Amlash pottery from the prehistoric Caspian Sea regions of Iran. This was followed by some modern arts, and the repeated gutting and remodeling of the interior.

The old building consists of three halls. The three halls contain artifacts and fossils from the lower, middle, and upper Paleolithic, as well as the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, early and late Bronze Age, and Iron Ages I-III, through the Median, Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, and Sassanid periods.

The second building consists of three floors. It contains various pieces of pottery, textiles, texts, artworks, astrolabes, and adobe calligraphy from Iran's post-Islamic era.

Plans are underway for the construction of a new building, as the current ones lack the capacity and standards for preserving all of Iran's excavated treasures.


Piece from the Achaemenid collection.

The oldest artifacts in the museum are from Kashafrud, Darband and Ganj Par, sites that date back to the Lower Paleolithic period. Mousterian stone tools made by Neanderthals are also on display in the first hall. The most important Upper Paleolithic tools are from the Yafteh Cave, dating back approximately 30,000-35,000 years. There are also 9,000 year-old human and animal figurines from Sarab Hill in Kermanshah Province among the many other ancient artifacts.


  • Conservation Department
  • Paleolithic Department
  • Osteological Department
  • Prehistoric Department
  • Historic Department
  • Islamic Department
  • Inscriptions Department
  • Seals and Coins Department
  • Pottery Department
  • Center for Pottery Studies


The ground floor of the new building is dedicated to contemporary exhibitions of the museum's collections, with mainly archaeology themes. The temporary exhibition galleries feature two or three exhibitions each year. These temporary exhibitions usually run for one to two months. The latest exhibition which was one of the most successful in museum history, titled "Evidence for Two Hundred Thousand Years of Human-Animal Bonds in Iran", ran from August to October 2014.[2] The main theme of this exhibition was relation and coexistence of past human societies and various animal species in Iran, since late Lower Paleolithic to recent decades.

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Coordinates: 35°41′13.36″N 51°24′52.60″E / 35.6870444°N 51.4146111°E / 35.6870444; 51.4146111