Founded in efforts of Westernization, in the most difficult times of the Empire politically and economically, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (IAM) was the first museum of the Ottoman Empire. As an imperial museum, IAM had different connotations for the West and the public, implying sovereignty of the state over the historical artifacts in its territory as well as underscoring ‘being modern’ through the collections. As the state’s policy, regarding economic and political issues, both domestic and international changed, so did the collection and regulations of the museum. With the ending era of Osman Hamdi Bey, the museum had taken its current form in respect of museum premises and strict regulations on historical artifacts which were going to be in practice for long time even after the end of the Empire, had been enacted. Therefore, the process between the establishment of IAM in a time when there was not even a well constituted policy on cultural issues and the ending of the era of Osman Hamdi Bey is aimed to be studied with references to the State’s practices in respect of historical artifacts and implementations on IAM, whereby the museum policies of the time are aimed to be propounded.