National Museum is located in the centre of Belgrade, on the main city square, the Square of the Republic (Trg republike). It was built in 1903 by architects Andra Stevanović and Nikola Nestorović. The building was originally built for purposes of Treasury Directorate. It is a representative of monumental public palaces architecture built at the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th centuries. Stylistically, the building embodies academic eclecticism, containing dominating neo-renaissance architectural elements. Facade and interior decoration was designed by Franja Valdman. Atrium (originally counter-hall) and parts of the building fronting Laza Paču Street were constructed in 1930. The building was severely damaged during the World War II. It was reconstructed after the war was over, but, unfortunately, the reconstruction works did not include the reparation of the central dome.
Since its foundation in 1844, National Museum’s collections were being relocated for eleven times, and due to that, the Museum was awarded with permission to use its nowadays building. The grand opening of National Museum in its new building took place at May 23, 1952.
During the 1960s, Museum’s director Lazar Trifunović made an effort in providing conservation and restoration works on the National Museum’s building. The original great dome was restored. The interior was once more adapted to provide for the needs of the Museum. Adaptation projects were made by architects Aleksandar Deroko, Petar Anagnosti and Zoran Petrović.
The central building of the National Museum is recognised as a cultural heritage site of great importance for the Republic of Serbia.
Locations of the museum and it’s collections through the history:
- 1844 – Ministry of Education building, near the Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church and The Residence of Princess Ljubica.
- 1848 – Topčijska Barracks (Nemanjina and Sarajevska Streets).
- 1861 – The Education Directorate Building, near Vaznesenjska Church, in Kraljica Natalija Street.
- 1863 – The Major Miša Anastasijević Mansion.
- 1891 – Houses on the Kraljevski trg (Kings Square), today the site of the Faculty of Philology; Mansions of major Miša Anastasijević and brothers Veličković.
- 1898 – House of Stevča Mihailović, (Kneza Miloša and Birčaninova Streets crossing, today the site of The Generalštab)
- 1916 – The Vračar Savings Bank (King Milan and Knez Miloš streets crossing).
- 1922 – House of Raša Milošević (Kneza Miloša St. 58), today the sites of embassies of Croatia and Germany.
- 1929 – The Residence of Princess Ljubica.
- 1935 – The New Court (todays City Council).
- 1948 – The Labour market building, Studentski trg 13.