National Museum of Iran

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National Museum of Iran
موزهٔ ملی ایران
Národní muzeum Íránu.jpg
Established 1937
Location Tehran, Iran
Type Archaeology museum
Collection size Archaeological collections from Paleolithic to Qajar period
Director Mahnaz Gorji
The main entrance of building-1 of the museum is built in the style of Persia's Sassanidvaults, particularly the iwan of Ctesiphon.

The National Museum of Iran (Persian: موزهٔ ملی ایرانMūze-ye Millī-ye Irān) is a museum in Tehran, Iran. It is the combination of two museums, the old Muze-ye Irân-e Bâstân ("Archaeological Museum of Iran", a brick, Sasanian revival building inaugurated in 1937, and the modernistic white travertine National Arts Museum ("Mūze-i Honar-i Mellī"), inaugurated in 1972. The second structure, built on the grassy grounds of the old Archaeological Museum, went through quite a few, and hasty changes of the interior, and was still being remodeled when the Islamic Revolution swept the country in 1979.

The old building itself was designed by French architect Andre Godard in the early 20th century. The museum has a built area of approximately 11000 square meters, its main building housing three floors. Began in 1935 and completed within two years by Abbas-Ali Memar and Morad Tabrizi, the museum building was officially inaugurated in 1937.While the old museum always had a clear mandate to show archaeological relics (to also include some rare medieval textiles and rug pieces), the new museum 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. It was only after the Islamic Revolution that the new building was appended to the old, to form the "National Museum of Iran." The two buildings are dedicated respectively to the pre-Islamic collection (the old brick building), while the new, travertine building contains post-Islamic artifacts. Together, they preserve ancient and medieval Persian antiquities including pottery vessels, metal objects, textiles, books, coins, etc.

Building One 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 post-Islamic part of the museum was inaugurated in 1996 and consists of three floors. It contains various pieces of pottery, textiles, texts, artworks, astrolabes, and adobe calligraphy from Iran's 1,400-year Islamic history.

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

There are a number of research departments in the museum, including the Paleolithic Department, Osteological Department and Center for Pottery Studies. There are other five departments of Prehistoric, Historic, Islamic, Seals and coins and inscriptions Departments.

These two museums are 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 Iranian cities, and even some rare books and coins.[1]

Piece from the Achaemenid collection.


  • Prehistoric Department
  • Historic Department
  • Seals and Coins Department
  • Islamic Department
  • Paleolithic Department
  • Pottery Department
  • Inscriptions Department
  • Conservation Department


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 Tappe Sarab in Kermanshah Province among the many other ancient artifacts.


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 features 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" which 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