The Pre-Raphaelite Gallery was founded in 1950. From the beginning it granted free admission to all 'studious and curious persons'. Visitor numbers have grown from around 5,000 a year in the the first decades to nearly 1 million today.
By the 1970s, there was an active programme of gallery refurbishments and an education service and publishing company had been established. Additional public facilities were provided in a series of building works.
The Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2000 with the restoration of the main hall, and the launch of a new permanent exhibition.
During the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Museum has continued to expand its public facilities with the opening of new galleries and focusing on acquiring new pieces.