The Shri Pratap Singh Museum, erstwhile summer palace of Kashmir Kings was established in 1898 AD and was named after Maharaja Pratap Singh of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir when a memorandum was submitted to the then Dogra ruler of the Jammu & Kashmir State, Maharaja Pratap Singh, by his younger brother, General Raja Sir Amar Singh, and a European scholar, Captain S. H. Godmerry, proposing the establishment of a museum in Srinagar to house exhibits and artifacts covering the region of Jammu, Kashmir, Baltistan and Gilgit. The museum was set up in a building belonging to the Jammu and Kashmir State at Lal Mandi, Srinagar, on the left bank of the river Jhelum.
Sir John Marshal, the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India supervised the establishment of the museum. Mr. Blerjee- the Accountant General of the state, served as the first head of the institution and was responsible for preparing a catalogue of the various coins kept in the museum.
The museum collection initially comprised shawls and armory that were obtained from the Tosh Khana. After the restructuring of the Archaeological Department in 1913 under Rai Bhadur Daya Ram Sahni, artifacts excavated at Panderenthan, Parihaspora and Avantipura were first exhibited in the museum. This rich endowment formed one of the major additions to the museum’s collection. Subsequently, a number of objects, mostly decorative artifacts, were acquired by the museum from private owners and were dated on the basis of style, period and material.