Established in 1888, the Watson Museum is named after Colonel John Watson, who served as a British political agency at the Kathiawar region from 1881 to 1889. The construction of the museum was finished in 1893 and was inaugurated by the then governor general of the Bombay Presidency area, Lord George Harris. Barring the Museum of Baroda, this museum is the oldest one located in the state of Gujarat. The museum is open for tourists every day except Wednesdays, the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, and all government holiday, from 9 AM to 12:45 PM and then again from 3 PM to 6 PM. The entry fees are nominal as the prices are as low as Rs. 5 and Rs. 2 for Indian citizens and Indian students respectively. It is compulsory to carry a valid student ID for one to avail the student discount. For foreign citizens, the entry fee is Rs. 50 per person, which is again just the bare minimum. This pricing scheme makes the place accessible for all sections of the mass, which is commendable.
The museum has various sections containing scriptures, inscriptions, manuscripts, painting, coins, embroidery and textile works, handicraft items, different wood carving, musical instruments, etcetera. Several royal families from different parts of India have donated many paintings, artefacts, and manuscripts to the museum which it now houses. In this way, it truly is a confluence of the diverse Indian cultural strands. It also has on display examples of the colonial style of textile and jewellery design. One of the fascinating sections in the museum is the one on the Indus Valley Civilisation, which contains several artefacts collected during the excavations located around Saurashtra. These artefacts include many statues, coins, carvings, and costumes of the inhabitants of Mohenjo Daro.
Every year, during the second week of January, the museum organises an annual event called the Bhartiya Shilp Samruddhi which is focused on preserving the cultural heritage of India. This event usually lasts for a week and attracts art enthusiasts and experts from all over the country.