Contiguous to the National College of Arts, and located in the museum compound is a distinct 2-storey structure containing an auditorium and library, which was once referred to as the Technical Institute. This building too is built in red brick and is part of the original cluster of Anglo-Mughal buildings. The ground floor is utilized as an auditorium while the first floor houses one of the finest antiquarian libraries in Pakistan. On the south, facing the Mall, Lahore Museum, commonly referred to as the ajaib ghar, one of the most impressive Anglo Mughal edifices presents itself in all its glory.
The history of the establishment of the museum is
traced back to the first industrial exhibition held
in 1864. The Lahore Exhibition was part of a series
of exhibitions being organized at the time in
several cities of British India in the wake of
London's 1851 Great Exhibition, which had proved to
be a remarkable showcase for the products of the
empire. The exhibition hall, later known as
Tollinton Market, was built as a temporary
structure, but continued to serve various functions
until the end of the 20th century.
The present building was constructed as a memorial of Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria held in 1887, and financed through a special public fund raised on the occasion. The foundation stone of the new museum was laid on 3 February 1890 by Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Queen Victoria's grandson. On its completion in 1894, the entire museum collection was transferred to present building with its new name as Jubilee Museum.
The present building, designed by Lockwood Kipling and Bhai Ram Singh, became the first structure especially designed as a museum, allowing cool north light to filter into the museum galleries. Bhai Ram Singh, Vice-Principal of Mayo School designed the fountain in front of the building, and along with students of the Mayo School was deeply involved in the design and execution of internal decorative features of the museum.
Lahore Museum is one of the most remarkable museum
buildings in Pakistan. Its grand entrance, framed by
a white marble portico provides the accent to this
picturesque Anglo-Mughal ensemble. Although not as
decorative as Aitchison College main building nor
carrying its refined and delicate brick and
terra-cotta detailing, the massing of the
composition is exceedingly impressive. This
architectural edifice expresses geometric purity in
its formation of square corner cube-like towers
surmounted by handsome hemispherical domes,
providing an interesting interplay of light and
shade in the strong sun of the Punjab. The contrast
of deeply shaded voids against solid elements
presents a dramatic view; and the slightly
projecting portico in white Nowshera marble
successfully highlights a crescendo of domes and
cupolas of the red-brick structure. Although built
more than a decade later, the museum building
strives at compatibility with the school of art
through a similar treatment of repetitive lancet
arches on its side wings which flank the central
piece de resistance—the portico entrance.