Museum is built in 19th century in Indo-Saracenic syle and is named after the former Madras Governor General - John Napier.It a treasure house of architectural splendor, combining traditional Kerala styles, along with Chinese and Mughal Influences.The museum houses a huge collection of archeological and historical artifacts- bronze idols, Stone Sculptures, wooden carvings, ornaments dating from 11th century to the 18th century. There is a clock which is said to be 400 years old.
The Sree Chitra Art Gallery in the museum compound features a rare collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma and fascinating works from the Mughal, Rajput and Tanjore schools of art. An oriental collection consisting of paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali offers a visual treat and are a tribute to the art and culture of these countries. Museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM except on Mondays,and special days like Thruvonam, Mahanami, jan 26, Aug 15 and Wednesday forenoons.