The city was established in the 17th century by the British, who developed it into a major urban centre and naval base. By the 20th century, it had become an important administrative centre, as the capital of the Madras Presidency.
Government Museum, established in 1851, is located in Egmore, Chennai. It is the second oldest museum in India. The Museum complex consisting of six buildings and 46 galleries covers an area of around 16.25 acres (66,000 m²) of land. It is particularly rich in archaeological and numismatic collections. It has the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside Europe. Many of the buildings within the Museum campus, including the colossal Museum Theatre, are over 100 years old. The National Art Gallery is also present in the museum premises. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, it houses rare works of artists like Raja Ravi Varma. The objects displayed in the museum cover a variety of artifacts and objects covering diverse fields including archeology, numismatics, zoology, natural history, sculptures, palm-leaf manuscripts and Amravati paintings.