The Museum was inaugurated and blessed by John Paul II last December 8, 2001, for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
The most important and precious objects belonging to the Basilica were exhibited in the Museum.
The Museum consists of eight rooms arranged according to the following themes: the history of the Basilica, Christ in the mystery of the Nativity and of the Passion, Our Lady, that is venerated in the Basilica as Salus Populi Romani, and some Saints related to the Basilica: St. Charles Borromeo, who was the Archpriest of the Basilica from 1564-1566, St. Pius V, remains are exposed for the veneration of the faithful, Blessed Pius IX, other Popes, Archpriests, the Chapter, the last century's Jubilees, several books and liturgical objects which are preserved here like cartegloria by Luigi Valadier, reliquaries by Pietro Gentili and Benedetto Cacciatore, monstrance by Vincenzo Belli and other monstrances, chalices by several artists like Giuseppe Grazioli, Vincenzo Coaci, Pietro Paolo Spagna, Augusto Castellani. The calices were offered to the Basilica by popes, archpriests, Liberian Clergy and by the Capitoline Administration that offers a votive chalice every year according to the tradition begun in 1624.
Among the several works of great masters one can see paintings like "The Ascente on the Calvary" by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi known as the Sodoma, "The Madonna with the Child, St. Antony of Padua, and St. Catherine of Siena" by Domenico Jacopo di Pace better known as Beccafumi. There are also three paintings of the history of the Icon Salus Populi Romani by circle of Baldassare Croce.
Liturgical vestments of St. Pius V, Pope Paul V and Urban VIII are also exhibited in the Museum. There are also interesting ancient scores from the venerable Music Chapel, like the manuscript of the mass "La Stella" by Domenico Scarlatti and an autograph by Pierluigi da Palestrina.
The Museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It is also possible to visit the "Loggia delle Benedizioni" and the "Presepe of Arnolfo di Cambio" in the Sistine Chapel with a tour guide.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore - Via Liberiana, 27 00185 Roma