The building that houses the Asian Society and Museum was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, and it was opened in 1981. The eight-story building was designed for the museum, offices, and conference space. The exterior of the building is made out of Oklahoma granite and consists of rectangular office windows along with two large semi-circular windows.
The artwork for the Museum began with a collection that was amassed by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, who believed that art was a way to merge societies through cultural understanding. From 1963 to 1978, Sherman E. Lee, an art historian, helped Rockefeller expand this collection, which included sculptures, paintings, and decorative art from various regions across Asia. In 2007, the Museum began expanding its contemporary collection of Asian art, which has added nearly 100 works to the collection. The Rockefeller collection, along with rotating exhibitions, make the museum a worthwhile visit.