With the purpose of preserving history and calling upon a sense of patriotism among the people, the building values a large collection of historical artifacts, ranging from stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities from the Buddhist era to the rule of Islamic monarchs.
The Museum was earlier looked after by the 
The three-storied museum (old Building) is located in the Sultan Park in Malé, which is part of the site of the Maldivian Royal Palace compound dating back to the 17th century. The two-storey Us-gēkolhu is also the only remaining structure of the palace demolished by fire in 1968.
The new building of the museum is also located in Sultan Park. The Building was designed, built and financed by the Chinese government. The building was presented to the Maldives by the Chinese government on 10 July 2010, but was officially opened and declared as the national museum two weeks later on Maldives' Independence Day, 26 July 2010.
The interior of the museum has been retained from the days of the Sultanate, including the handwritten Qur'an engraved on the walls of the building.
A diverse collection of artifacts are displayed in the museum including relics from the foregone pre-Islamic period era, thrones, royal sunshades and furniture, costumes and shoes, coins, ornaments, arms and armor.
Others examples include textiles such as ceremonial dresses, turbans, fancy slippers and belts used on special occasions, mats and other creative embroidery.
Highlights of the collections include:
The Buddhist statues were destroyed during an attack by Islamists in February 2012, during unrest surrounding the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed, who had been accused by Islamists of being too liberal, of entertaining friendly relations with Israel, and of tolerating alcohol outside tourist resorts. Museum director Ali Waheed said that almost all the museum's pre-Islamic artifacts, dating back to before the 12th century, had been destroyed. "Some of the pieces can be put together but mostly they are made of sandstone, coral and limestone, and they are reduced to powder." He said the museum had "nothing [left] to show" of the country's pre-Islamic history. 
Among the damaged objects were:
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