The museum was founded in 1910 with the name "Museo etnografico indo-cinese" (the ethnographic Indo-Chinese Museum).
The photos we have in our archives show us a fascinating and somewhat faded hall full of Chinese and Indian unusual objects with also some stuffed animals, these were supposed to create wonder on the visitor and introduce him to the exotic atmosphere that people had of far countries. In fact this was the main characteristic that was predominant in museums then. They were called 'the hall of wonder'.
This style remained as such up until the end of the second world war, when the museum took on the name of "Museo di arte e di etnologia estremo orientale" (the far east and ethnological museum). Its collections included objects which came from Burma, Africa and Brazil.
On 15 november 1952, this was the date that the museum entered officially in Milan's cultural life: the inauguration had 300 people attending.
The 70s demonstrated a significant change of style. With new premises we could set up two distict halls, one especially for oriental art and another for the displayng of more folk traditional and ethnographical items. A new name was given "Museo di arte estremo orientale e di etnografia" (the far east and ethnographical museum) to reflect this different style.
Among events that happened in that period, documents report a sad and curious piece of news of a theft which took place during the night of 18 january 1973 - unknown people broke in and stole nearly all of a very valuable collection of Chinese coins, which would never be found again.
In the years of the 80s and 90s the museum underwent several changes that brought it to have precise scientific features. It is enlarged and furnished with a hall especially to host temporary exhibitions. Since 1998 it has actual name and appearance.