The major highlight of the impressive main national museum is the Archaeological Treasury, displaying a wealth of pre-Christian gold, silver and precious-stone work from burials in Georgia going back to the 3rd millennium BC. Most stunning are the fabulously detailed gold adornments from Colchis (western Georgia). On the top floor, the Museum of Soviet Occupation has copious detail on Soviet repression and resistance to it.

The museum also stages temporary exhibitions from its large stored collections, such as Asian art and historical photography. In the lobby (free admission) are exhibits from Dmanisi, the archaeological site in southern Georgia whose 1.8 million-year-old hominid skulls are rewriting the study of early European humanity.