This national museum is housed in the Moti Shahi Mahal in the Shahibaug area. It was constructed between 1618 and 1622 for the Mughal crown prince Khurram, then suba or governor of Gujarat, who later came to be known as Emperor Shah Jahan. It later fell in the hands of the British Raj. In 1878, the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore stayed here when he was only seventeen years old and this building served as an inspiration behind his story The Hungry Stones.
After the Indian independence, from 1960 to 1978, this palace became the Raj Bhavan, official residence of the Governor of Gujarat. On March 7, 1980, a memorial was founded to honor Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Surrounding the Moti Shahi Mahal is the large expanse of the Sardar open garden, dotted by peacocks and monkeys around the trees. On special occasions documentary films are shown at the Sardar Open Air Theatre. A small statue of Sardar rests dignified at the entrance of the museum. His memorial is spread across the ground floor, covering the central hall and four adjacent rooms.
The museum traces his life through pictures, portraits, biographical descriptions, political cartoons, clippings from newspapers, quotes from people who knew him, relics and personal possessions from his life. It also illustrates the time he spent with Gandhiji through pictures and stories.
The room on the first floor where Tagore stayed is dedicated to him and carries his memory through portraits, pictures, writings and a large statue of this great son of India.