The museum was established in 1802 as a library and a public place to display the collection of natural artifacts that were collected by the Hungarian Baron Franz Széchényi. In the 1830's the government allocated half a million forint to establish a permanent location for the collection. The architect Mihály Pollack designed the building you are standing in now in the neo-Classical style, a very impressive and large building, a sort of temple for history, that was inaugurated in 1846.
Beyond its responsibilities as a museum, the building became a symbol of Hungarian nationalism. This happened in 1848, the era of the "Spring of Nations" when the museum was the center of the Hungarian revolutionary uprising of 1848. This formative event took place when the Hungarian national poet Sándor Petőfi, read the "12 Points" to a crowd and his national song, which is called exactly that, "the National Song." The event became a symbol of revolution and the museum gained a symbolic place in the renewal of Hungarian nationalism. In memory of the event, the poets who were part of the uprising and the memorial ceremonies for the revolution are commemorated in front of the museum.
In a permanent and central display in the museum is the development of the history of Hungary. The exhibition focuses on the rule of the Mediars and the conquests from the period of Roman rule to the Ottoman Turks. The amount of maps, charts, coins, jewelry, artwork and everyday objects displayed here is huge. In addition, videos are presented here and there is an experiment with computerized illustrations of the periods and historical changes that have taken place in Hungary over the years.
There are special displays here for modern Hungarian history, since the Revolution of 1848 and the showcasing of prominent personalities, especially in the past few centuries in the themes of music, literature, science, and medicine.
A special section is held for the Hungarian history of the threatening police, the Communist and Fascist forces from the 20th century until the release and freedom of democracy.