The Museum of Fine Arts is an integral part of the Department of Art History and Visual Arts (AHVA), Panjab University. The department was set up in 1962 to offer Post Graduate and PhD programs. The museum is a beautiful piece of architecture situated across the road in front of the fine arts department, and is adjacent to Gandhi Bhawan, a landmark building of the Panjab University. The layout of the Fine Arts Museum is in a series of small galleries encircling an open courtyard. Each gallery has an umbrella-shaped roof which is a typical characteristic providing an artistic bend to the otherwise utilitarian architecture. The building has two levels. The lower level approachable through the front gate is split into two parts. One part of it houses the permanent collection of contemporary art which is estimated to be 1,200 artefacts including paintings, prints, and sculptures of renowned artists of India like M.F. Husain, Aparna Caur, Dhanraj Bhagat, and Shiv Singh, etc.
A temporary exhibition area is provided where various artists can display their collections. The lower level also houses the reception area, interlocking galleries and an expansive courtyard studded with water pools reflecting the sky. Several prominent contemporary sculptures, both in stone and metal, further enhance the aesthetics of the building. The spacious central courtyard, confined by the interlocking galleries also provides a suitable area for art meetings and lectures. The second level is approachable by staircases located in different galleries, and houses storerooms and a research scholars' room.
The orientation of the building allows ample sunlight through the frosted glass on the windows situated on the upper level of the display walls. The sun breakers make maximum utilisation of sunlight without letting in the scorching heat of the summer sun. The revolving gate on the entrance is another interesting characteristic of Chandigarh architecture, and can be witnessed at the Fine Arts Museum and various other museums.