This museum is supposed to be the oldest museum of the state. Colonel Sir Swinton Jacob designed it in 1876 to greet King Edward VII as Prince of Wales on his visit to India. It was opened to public ten years later. Positioned amidst the gardens of Ram Niwas Bagh in Jaipur, this museum has an assortment of rare articles on its display including textiles, carpets, paintings, metal and wood crafts, pottery, arms and weapons, flora and fauna of the state, toys, dolls and even an Egyptian mummy that belongs to the Ptolemaic Epoch. It is also known for housing the famous carpet, which portrays the scene of a Persian garden carpet with running water streams that was bought at a dear price from Shah Abbas of Persia, by Mirza Raja Jai Singh I. It also puts on show the miniature paintings of a number of sub-schools of Rajasthan.
The galleries on the ground floor of the museum have been completely
remodeled and restructured since 1959 in an attempt to depict the
uniqueness of the dresses and jewellery of all the classes and tribes of
Rajasthani people including the privileged class that mainly consists of
Rajputs and the merchant class. It includes the lifestyle of the tribals
such as Meenas, Bhopas, Bhils, Gadoliya Lohars and many more. One
gallery has also been committed to the henna body art of Rajasthan,
popularly called as 'Mehndi Mandana', which makes an exhibition of the
typical Rajasthani motifs and designs that are so well recognized as
ethnic all over the world. Puppets and Phad paintings (the painted
scrolls depicting the life of Pabuji Rathore, who was a great folk-hero
from Marwar) occupies yet another gallery of the museum. The highlights
of the museum, however, are displayed in its central gallery, which is
completely devoted to the Rajasthani music and dance forms.