The complex was built between 1893 and 1903 named The temple of developing wisdom and dedicated to the 8th Bogd Jetsun Dampa, the head of Mongolian religion. The eighth Bogd Jetsun Dampa, twenty-third reincarnation of Taranatkha, was born in Lhasa, Tibet in 1869 as Agvaanluvsanchoijinnyam, son of an official of the Dalai lama. In 1871 his identity as the eight reincarnation of the Bogd Jetsun Dampa was made known. Two years later, under the instructions of the Manchu Qing emperor, the Bogd Jetsun Dampa left Tibet with his parents and siblings to take residence in Mongolia, reaching the Mongolian capital in October 1874. Upon his arrival he was greeted with considerable fanfare by aristocrats and worshippers from across the country.
The eighth Bogd Jetsun Dampa became religious leader of Mongolia in 1874. He assumed political authority over Mongolia as the Bogd Khaan, or “Holy King”, following the collapse of the Manchu empire in 1911, and continued to govern as a constitutional monarch from the time of the Mongolian People’s Revolution in 1921 until his death of illness in 1924. At this point Mongolia was renamed the People’s Republic and was governed as a socialist state.
On April 1, 1926, after Bogd Khaan’s death of illness in 1924, a state museum office was created and it was decided to transmit the remaining property of the Bogd Khaan to public museum ownership. For this purpose the Bogd’s Winter Palace was converted to a museum building, displaying objects of historical and artistic value, religious idols, ethnographic objects, the royal collection of stuffed animals, and other items which had been owned or used by the Bogd Khaan.
The Bogd Khaan Palace Museum consists of seven Summer Prayer temples and the Winter Palace. The collections of the museum include unique and valuable objects related to Mongolia’s political, religious, and artistic history from the 17th to early 20th centuries: bronze casting, silk paintings, mineral paintings, and papier mache icons made by well-known artists and artisans of the period, among others the first Bogd Zanabazar and his school; as well as objects owned and used by eighth Bogd Jetsun Dampa and his wife Queen Dondogdulam, including royal clothing and equipment, gifts from domestic and foreign guests or representatives, and items purchased by the king for his own diversion.