Albert Hall Museum

The building gets its name from The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the inspiration for its design. The exquisitely built Albert Hall is housed in the centre of Ram Niwas Garden. Sir Swinton Jacob (who is also the mastermind behind many other palaces in Rajasthan) conceptualised and designed it using styles from the Indo-Sarcenic architecture and the Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone of the building in 1876. The museum displays a wide range of metal objects, wood crafts, carpets, stone and metal sculptures, arms and weapons, natural stones and ivory goods. It also houses a large collection of miniatures from Bundi, Kota, Kishangarh, Udaipur and Jaipur schools of art.

When the foundation stone of Albert Hall was laid during the visit of the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward to Jaipur in 1876, it had yet to be determined what use it would be put to. There were some suggestions about cultural or educational use or as a town hall. However in 1880 Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II approved a suggestion by Dr. Thomas Holbein Hendley, Resident Surgeon (whose interests extended beyond his medical responsibilities) to open a museum of Industrial Arts to display products of local craftsmen. A small museum was created in 1881 in temporary accommodation and proved most popular. Additionally, Hendley in 1883 mounted a Jaipur Exhibition at Naya Mahal (old Vidhan Sabha). The purpose of these exercises was to acquaint local craftsmen with the best examples of art work and handicrafts of India to inspire them to improve their skills, thereby protecting and preserving traditional art and reviving skills, while providing greater employment for artisans. It was also the intention that the display would help to educate youth in a wide variety of fields, entertain and inform the people of Jaipur.

The Albert Hall was completed in 1887 by the architect Samuel Swinton Jacob,Director of Jaipur PWD. The temporary museum and the exhibition whose artifacts had been collected from several parts of India and its neighbourhood were merged and shifted to their permanent home in the new museum. The building itself became an integral part of the display, its Indo-Saracenic architecture and stone ornamentation, became a source of reference for varied classical Indian styles of design from Mughal to Rajput. Even the corridors were decorated with murals in a variety of styles including the Ramayan, reproducing paintings from illustrations in the Persian Razmnama prepared for Emperor Akbar. European, Egyptian, Chinese, Greek and Babylonian civilizations were portrayed in the other murals to enable the people of the region to compare and contrast them with their own and develop their knowledge of history and art.