Though the museum is small in size but happens to be quite rich in terms of rare artefacts inside.These collections are exhibited in five rooms. The central hall contains the Mauryan, Sunga, Vardhana and Gupta era antiquities, among which are the famous lion capital of Ashoka, the colossal Bodhisattva of the Mathura school with its carved stone umbrella, railings of the Shunga period, inscribed Gupta images and pottery and terracotta of the Mauryan period. The famous Lion capital shows brilliant mirror-like polish. The second room and the southern gallery have antiquities of the Gupta and early mediaeval period on benches & pedestals. The sculptures display the scenes from the life of Buddha. In the facing verandah are some of the finest specimens of Gupta decorative sculptures including the huge lintel with scenes from the stories in Jataka. The third roorm contains objects of the mediaeval and late periods including the inscription of Queen Kumaradevi, recording the erection of the Dharmachakrapravartana. The Ashoka Chakra is the main attraction of the museum. A newly organised gallery shows several terracottas and sculptures including four- armed Vishnu. Ardhanarishvar, Shivalinga, Surya, Kartikeya, Agni, Brahma, Garudanarayana etc Gupta architectural pieces adorn the corridors. There is a nice board describing the evolution of the Devnagari script, to the version we know today.
There is a small collection of books in the museum library. Interested visitors are allowed to have access to it. The curator takes round and explains the exhibits to school and college students and other interested visitors. The labels are in Hindi and English. The aid of maps, charts and pictures is taken to illustrate certain special features of the exhibits. Batches of students from the Banaras Hindu University and other universities, colleges and schools visit the Sarnath Museum very often for studying the material on the spot. The curator is in charge of the Sarnath Museum under the general administrative control of the Superintendent Museum Branch, Department of Archaeology, Government of India.
The Sarnath Museum is suitably located and connected by flights, rail and road with Varanasi city which is about five miles from here. A large number of tourists visit the museum every day. The number swells during the Sawan Mela in August and the Mahabodhi Society celebrations in November. The coins and valuables are kept under lock and key. There is adequate storage space for reserve collections. The main source of collection is excavation at the site and exploration in the neighbouring area. This is a place which simply cannot be missed on a tour of the city. Mobiles are not allowed inside the museum but camera is allowed. The cloakroom is for free as well. One must submit his bag, mobile etc in the locker at the entry gate.