In 1937, the famous French architect, Andre Godard, built the National Museum of Iran, as the first museum ever made in the country. This complex, being around 80 years old, carries the title of the biggest historical and archaeological museum of Iran, and is the mother museum of the country in terms of variety, quality and the number of historical objects. The National Museum Complex has three sections of Pre-Historic, Historic and Islamic scattered on a land of about 20,000 m2 and 18,000 m2, displaying 300,000 historical objects. The museum is located on the Si-e Tir Street in Tehran City Center.
It seems the first time, Morteza Gholi Khan Hedayat, who was known as Sani Ol Doleh, and was the first chairperson of Iranian parliament, proposed the land to be used for a museum. Before that, in 1916, part of the ministry of education was turned to a museum named Marefeh. Although the place was not made for this purpose, it still carries the name of the first museum of Iran. The room was in the north side of Dar ol Fonoun School that is the first university of Iran following the international standard of universities. This museum had 279 objects including Bronze, Pottery, Glass, Coins, Old Weapons, Books, and Textiles donated to the museum by the private collection owner. In 1925, the museum was transferred to Mirror hall of Masoudieh Qajar palace.
This complex, being around 80 years old, carries the title of the biggest historical and archaeological museum of Iran, and is the mother museum of the country in terms of variety, quality and the number of historical objects.
From 1897, when Jacques de Morgan began the archeological excavations, Iranians started paying more attention to the importance of national heritages. In 1927, the unconditional treaty signed with French government, that gave the permission of archeological excavation, was forfeited and the European Missions were restricted to excavations in the historic ground of Susa. The attention to natural heritages made the government to hasten the construction of a museum. From the moment that the decision was made, the search for a suitable designer began as well, and the famous French archaeologist and architect Andre Godard was invited to present his plans and build the museum. Godard believed that the architecture of the museum must follow the culture of the land it is built in, and have connection to the objects that are to be presented there; therefore, Taq-e Kasra was chosen as a source of inspiration for designing the entrance of the construct with red bricks that are a reminder of the materials Sassanid used. The museum is about 11,000 m2. The building of the museum was built in three story between 1935 to 1937 and by local building masters; and displays pre-Islamic objects.
The other building of the complex is the one used for Islamic Objects and known as the Museum of Islamic Time. Unlike the Prehistoric and Historic section, the construction of this building faced many obstacles. It was repeatedly halted and even when it was finished, the building closed down for restoration and equipping several times. The process of building the structure began in 1944 and finished in 1996, and a Sassanid palace in Bishapur inspired it. The outcome is a four-story museum with two stories dedicated to displaying Islamic objects in seven halls among which the Quran, the Timurid, the Safavid and the Qajar halls are placed in the first floor and the beginning of the Islam, the Seljuk and the Ilkhanid halls dominate the second floor. In addition, this complex has several other sections like a café, handicraft shop and researching section that has carried the heavy burden of saving, restoring and promoting all objects related to Iran and Iran’s culture and history. Following the latest standards of museum, defined by ICOM, the museum tries to improve itself day by day.