With a rich history of more than 20000 years, Mongolian museums are must-see if you ever visit Mongolia. Even though most of the famous ones with ancient histories are in the countryside, you can still get to enjoy equally good ones without stepping a foot outside of the city.
Choijin Lama Temple Museum
Not only it is one of the most beautiful museums in Ulaanbaatar due to its location and architecture, but it also perfectly represents Mongolian rapid development. It is named after Bogd Khaan VII’s brother Luvsankhaidav whose religious name was Choijin lama.
This temple was built in 1908 for a religious purpose until it got closed in 1936. In 1942, it was reopened as a museum. With 5 different sections in the museum and a special mosaic in front of it, it was preserved perfectly in its original location, creating an unusual but beautiful combination with newly built skyscrapers around it.
The museum is open every day, but you can also attend some amazing events such as the Monalun fashion show and Night Museum- where the national morin khuur ensemble performs breathtaking numbers in an open area of the museum.
Adult- 8000 MNT
Children- 1500 MNT
Students- 3000 MNT
Memorial Museum for Victims of Political Persecution
During World War 1 and 2, around the 1930s, the Mongolian government has faced severe changes. Mongolia has become part of Comintern- an association of socialist countries.
During this governmental change, the Mongolian government has persecuted a huge number of monks, previous aristocrats, and even normal citizens. This heartbreaking history has been preserved in the Memorial museum for victims of political persecution as a reminder of the possibility of such horrid events happening and to pay respect for the innocents who have unfortunately become victims during this era.
Over 37 thousand people were executed during this era, 17 thousand of them being monks.
The museum’s building was used to be the home of Mongolian first official Prime Minister Genden. P who also was a victim of this persecution and was executed in 1937. It was opened as a museum in September of 1996 as an initiative of his daughter Tserendulam Genden.
Adult- 2500 MNT
Children- 200 MNT
Student- 500 MNT
Zanabazar’s Museum of Fine Arts
Zanabazar’s museum of fine arts is Mongolia’s biggest art preservation museum. It was named after Zanabazar who was both Mongolian religious and cultural head. This museum is home to Mongolian priceless art heritages including Tara Ekh- Zanabazar himself’s creation.
It was first opened in 1966 with the purpose of showing and collecting Mongolian arts that have been scattered along with the country. Now, the museum has over 20000 artworks of various sorts, some from as late as AC 40000.
About 2000 of these works are constantly exhibited to the public, with regular pop-up exhibitions. An audio guide is included in the ticket price but unfortunately, only a few of the commentaries are available in English.
Also, the museum holds some really interesting workshops such as creating your own mandala with special colored sands for adults or drawing cave inscriptions for kids for free.
Adults- 8000 MNT
Students- 2500 MNT
Children- 1000 MNT
Mongolian National History Museum
With a great many exhibitions of taxidermy and dinosaur fossils, the Mongolian national history museum has been the family’s favorite museum for years until it got closed in 2014. However, you might be able to enjoy it when you visit Mongolia in the next five or so years, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Mongolia is famous for its dinosaur fossils. Most of the remains of the dinosaurs have been found in Mongolian gobi, thanks to the sand’s nature of preservation.
However, the first dedicated dinosaur museum has opened only in 2013, when a Tarbosaurus Bataar has been returned to Mongolia after a sensational scandal of the Denver auction.
This amazingly preserved fossil has been stolen and trafficked to the US. After the scandal was out, the Mongolian president has returned the fossil back to Mongolia.
Since then, this interactive, 3D museum centered in T-Bataar has become children’s favorite.
Adult- 5000 MNT
Children- 500 MNT
Student- 1500 MNT
Days of Museum
Even though Mongolian museums are remarkably cheap ranging from only around 2 dollars to 5 dollars, there are days dedicated to museums when all of the museums become tax-free. For a week or so around March, 10 museums are free to enter.
However, most of the schools and kindergartens hold excursions through museums during these days, making the museum crowded and inordinate. Even the museum staffs are grumpy these days and are unlikely to treat you nicely. So it’s better to avoid these days if you want to get a full experience of museums.