Mongolia’s first museum was opened to the public in 1924. The collections started at that time were for a national museum, whose building no longer exists. In the socialist period, all collections of historical, ethnographical, natural history and paleontological were housed in the building of the State Central Museum, which was built in 1956. Between the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mongolia began to transform toward democratic policies and an open-market economy and as a result of those changes, the management of museums was redeveloped and some earlier museums were reopened. In 1991, the National Museum of Mongolian History was established by merging the collections of two museums: the State Central Museum and Museum of Revolution. In 2008, the National Museum of Mongolian History was elevated in status to a national museum hence our current name. The present building of the National Museum of Mongolia was built in 1971, when it was constructed as the Museum of Revolution.
A significant responsibility for preserving Mongolian cultural heritage lies with NMM. On display are historical, ethnographical and cultural objects ranging from Mongolia’s ancient past, dating back to around 800 000 years ago, to the end of the 20th century, allowing the public cultural and educational opportunities to experience first-hand how Mongolians lived in historical times. The museum storage facility additionally holds over 50 000 historical and ethnographical objects.
The historical collection is subdivided into 3 areas: archaeological; medieval history of Mongolia; and modern historical objects and photography, recordings, and documents. The ethnographical collection is subdivided into jewellery and accessories; costumes; musical instruments; kitchen tools; Mongolian ger and furnishings; animal husbandry equipment; and religious items relating to Shamanism and Buddhism.
In its role as a research institute NMM reaches out to the academic community and welcomes their research contributions to our current knowledge of Mongolian culture. NMM has implemented several different projects related to scientific research projects in cooperation with domestic and foreign museums, universities, and institutions. NMM cooperates with the National Museum of Korea, the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institute, the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the East Tennessee University. NMM is member of the International Council of Museums and the Association of Asian National Museums.
NMM has 80 employees and is supported through admission fees and government funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The Museum of Statehood History housed across the road in Parliament House is also under jurisdiction the of NMM. Additionally, as the leading museum of Mongolia, NMM is responsible for providing methodological training and theoretical guidance to all other government-owned museums.