The Fort St. George Museum was organised and opened to the public from 31st January 1948. The museum began with a small collection of objects of the British Raj donated by the then Madras Presidency Government, the St. Mary's Church authorities, the disbanded army units and others. Over the years many objects were acquired by various means and there are now 3661 registered antiquities in the collection. Best among them (602) are on display in ten galleries. The building housing the museum is one of the oldest surviving buildings built within the fort. The building was completed in 1795 and served as the location for Madras Bank.
The museum building has a history of its own. The antiquities are displayed in ten galleries spread over three floors. An imposing marble statue of Lord Cornwallis (1738-1805) greets the visitors. The statue, carved by Thomas Banks, was financed by funds raised from the public, depicts the scene of surrender of two sons of Tippu as hostages The lobby contains drawings showing the stages of constructions and renovations from 1640 onwards.
Arms like swords, daggers, rifles and pistols, mortars, petard, cannon shots, breast plates, helmets, baton, and fragments of shells fired at and in defence of Madras during the freak attacks during the World Wars, besides native weapons like bow and arrow. The uniforms of various ranks of the British Army, ceremonial dress of Madras Governor's Bodyguards and the Under Secretary of Madras Government, regimental colours of various units and cushions used in the official investiture ceremony and about 64 medals and medallions issued by the British Government for honouring its soldiers in various battles they fought in the Indian sub-continent are displayed in the Uniform and Medals Gallery.