Due to political change in the country in 1990-1991, the completion of the building was delayed. When it was finally completed in 1995, the original intentions were judged differently and the building was transferred to the National Museums Board (NMB). On October 25, 1996, the building was officially opened to the public as Lusaka National Museum to specialize in cultural history. Lusaka National Museum is therefore, a Cultural History institution with collections in Ethnography, Archaeology (Prehistory) and History. The museum also has a large collection of contemporary Zambian Art pieces.
The Lusaka National Museum has two galleries, one on the ground floor and the other on the upper floor of the museum building. The main exhibition space is on the upper gallery. The exhibition tells the story of Zambia's history and development from its prehistoric past to its contemporary way of life. The lower gallery is a temporal exhibition space in which temporal exhibitions on contemporary issues on various themes are exhibited.
The exhibition on the upper gallery was mounted in 1996 and was meant to be a temporary exhibition to facilitate the official opening of the museum building to the public. Since 2000, the museum has worked to develop a new plan for the permanent exhibition on its upper gallery. The plan entails rethinking and rebuilding of the whole presentation into a long-term display of Zambia's history and cultural heritage in five major themes; namely, archaeology/prehistory, history, rural and urban life and children activities. The development of Zambia's cultural history heritage over the last three million years will be displayed in a more interactive, multimedia presentation for the education and enjoyment of the public when the whole exhibition is completed. So far the museum has completed the Traditional Cultures village model section depicting rural lifestyles of different Zambian societies.