Toward the end of the 19th century, an aborted attempt was made by J. A. Gamble, the conservator of forests of Madras Presidency to establish a forest museum in the province. A few years later in 1902, Gamble's successor as Conservator of Forests, Horace Arichibald Gass, succeeded in establishing a museum for forestry. It was opened to the public 15 April 1902 by Baron Ampthill, the then Governor of Madras. When Gass, the first curator, retired in 1905, his successor F. A. Lodge renamed the museum in his honor. It was expanded in 1905 and 1915. In 1912, the Madras Forestry College (currently the Tamil Nadu Forest Academy) was established in the museum grounds to train foresters. During 1942-47, the museum was closed and the buildings used as shelters for World War II evacuees from Malta and Greece. After Indian Independence in 1947, the museum came under the Government of Tamil Nadu. It is currently administered by the management of Institute for Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB), which is also situated in the same campus as the museum. The museum was reopened for public on May 1, 2015 after carrying out renovation works. A 3D diorama depicting wildlife in its natural habitat has been added.