The Directorate of Art and Culture, formerly known as the Naga Institute of Culture, came into being on the 1st November 1964. The objective initially was to carry on research on Naga Life and Culture and a Research Library. To begin with, the Institution was started in a small Hill type building spared by the Nagaland Civil Secretariat, headed by a Research Officer.

By early 1970, the building for the Directorate was constructed with an annexe for the State Museum. The Museum consisting of an ethnographic gallery was formally opened to the public on the 25th November 1970. Later in 1971, the department was renamed as the Directorate of Cultural Research and State Museum and again on the 4th December 1973 the department was finally renamed as the Directorate of Art and Culture, and as the years progressed, in the year 2008 dated 1st December also inaugurated The World War II Museum.