Mardan Museum was first established in the Town Hall in 1990 under the supervision of the then Commissioner Mardan Divisoin, Sahibzada Riaz Noor. The museum consisted of a single hall which displayed few Gandharan sculptures. In 2006 on the request of Provincial Government the District Government had provided a chunk of land for the construction of a new building of Mardan Museum. The building has been completed consisted of three Galleries and was inaugurated by Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2009.
Mardan Museum has the most beautiful collection of Gandharan sculptures. Most of these sculptures come from the sites of Takht-i-Bahi, Jamal Garhi and Sahri Bahlol. These are the Previous birth (Jataka) stories of Buddha, life scenes of Buddha, Palace scenes, Individual images of Buddha and Bodhisattva, Bejeweled heads of Bodhisattva, Stucco heads of Buddha and Architectural elements.
The Ethnological Gallery represents the ethnic profile of the region. These include the traditional jewelry, household objects, weapons, embroidery works and musical instruments. There are wooden and leather stools and boxes. The jewelry exhibited includes earrings, ear pendants, finger rings, necklaces, torques, bangles, bracelets, head ornaments and shoulder ornaments in silver. The embroidery work displayed in the gallery includes shirts and shawls. Weapons displayed include swords, muzzle loaded guns and pistols, representing the culture and tradition of nineteenth and early twentieth century. Household objects in wood, stone, and metal includes spoons, bowls, trays, querns, samawar, tea pots and glasses etc. Others are decorated terracotta Kalo khanaibowls and modern dishes. The musical instruments are rabab, sitar, tabla, tambourine, flute, drum, pitcher and Harmonium.
Islamic Gallery exhibits the manuscripts of eighth to thirteen century Hijri. These include the beautiful calligraphic specimens of Quran, religious texts and poetry etc. The language is mostly Arabic and Persian where the dominant calligraphic styles are Naskh and Nastalique.
The monastic complex of Takht-i-Bhai is one of the most well-known, well-preserved, sites and the only Gandhara site in the Frontier Province that is on the World Heritage List. Most of the Gandhara pieces in the Peshawar Museum were recovered from Takht-i-Bhai and Sahri Bahlol. The site of the Takht-i-Bhai is in the Mardan District, about 54 km northeast of Peshawar. It is about 1771 feet above the sea level and about 570 feet above the surrounding plains.
General Court, a French Officer in the court of Ranjit Singh, first reported the site in 1836. The site is mainly dated to the Ktishan period, but some earliest structures are dated to the time of the Parthian king, Gondophares. The complex consists of the main stupa, votive stupas, monastery complex and the lower cells. The main stupa is in typical Gandharan style having an elongated dome with square plinth and surrounded on three sides by chapels. The monastery is located to the north of the complex and has a central water tank, surrounded by small rooms on all sides. The monks for meditation purposes used low-level cells in the complex. It is worthy to note that the Chinese travellers, who visited Gandhara (6th -7th centUry AD), have not mentioned the site of Takht-i-Bahi in their accounts; probably the site was already abandoned at the time or was off their route.