Museums in Malaysia have started since 1883 when the British government established the Perak Museum in Taiping, followed by the Sarawak Museum in Kuching in 1888. Then the Selangor state has set up its museum in 1899.
In 1910, the management of the Perak Museum and Selangor Museum were merged under the Federation of Malay State Museums Department. However, the management was separated by the British ruler as a system towards decentralization in 1930.
A part of the Selangor Museum building was destroyed by the bombs which dropped by the Allied Air Force on 10 March 1945. As a result, a lot of artefacts were destroyed.
After independence in 1959, the government has appointed an architect to design the National Museum on the site of the Selangor Museum. The National Museum was launched by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong III Tuanku Syed Putra Al-Haj Ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail on the 31st of August 1963.