The urgent need to initiate advanced studies in the areas of History of Art, Conservation, and Museology has been discussed for years and the first step was taken in 1983, when diploma and post graduate diploma courses in History of International and Modern Art and their Sources and Restoration of Oil paintings were initiated in National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. In the year 1985, the programme was shifted to National Museum and its scope was expanded to include teaching of History of Art, covering both ancient and Modern, Eastern and Western. The programme of Restoration of Oil paintings was also widened to include the restoration of other works of art of organic and inorganic material.
With a view that the students can benefit and make a career out of these advanced studies, and because of the fact that mere diplomas may not make them eligible to apply and compete for various posts in the museums, galleries and universities, it was considered appropriate to set up an Institute that could award its own M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.