The Museum was established in 1802 on the basis of the rich private collection of Count Ferenc Széchényi that he handed over to the state. The classicism style museum building, designed by the architect Mihály Pollack was completed in 1847. Various museum collections considerably expanded during the second half of the 19th century, requiring creation of two separate museums - the Museum of Applied Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts. In the middle of the 20th century two more new museums were formed - the Museum of Ethnography and Hungarian Natural History Museum.
Several permanent expositions of the National Museum familiarize their visitors with Hungarian history in different periods of time - the basement floor is devoted to Roman time, the 1st floor to prehistoric period of the current Hungarian territory but the 2nd floor covers the period from the Middle Ages till the end of the 20th century. Chronologically, the exposition starts with magyar invasion after the fall of the Roman empire and concludes with the collapse of socialism in 1990. This time is illustrated by a large variety of typical artifacts - posters, furniture, household items, pieces made of glass, ceramics, metal and tin, documents, printed matter, textiles, stamps, weapons, industrial history related objects, musical instruments, toys, photos, etc. The greatest treasure of the museum is the crown of Stephen the first Hungarian King and other crowning-related jewelry.
The museum building played a significant role in the events of the revolution in 1848 and 1849 and has become a symbol of the national freedom. The national commemorations day of 1848 is held in front of it, too.
Keywords: museum, museums, Budapest, Hungary