The museum proposes two historical and two thematic tours, planned around two sections: the Archaeological Section and the Fine Arts Section.
A historical tour should begin from Prehistory. From this period, the museum holds small stones from the Upper Paleolithic site of La Calera in La Carolina; Neolithic ceramics with incised decoration from the cave of El Plato; ceramics, metal objects and flint knives from the necropolis in the artificial Chalcolithic cave of Marroquíes Altos; and metal, stone and ceramic objects from the agricultural and mining-metallurgic El Argar village of Peñalosa, in Baños de la Encina.
The Iberian culture is well represented in the museum thanks to the funerary ceramic pieces from the necropolis from Eras del Ejido in San Sebastián, La Guardia and Castellones de Ceal; the pieces imported from the Eastern Mediterranean; the Cerrillo Blanco and El Pajarillo sculptures; and the Iberian ex-votos.
Within the Roman world, of special note are the Bruñel, Marroquíes Altos and Santisteban mosaics; the funerary steles and sculptures; and the large variety of ceramics from Los Villares pottery, with common ceramics and Hispanic Terra Sigillata. The magnificent marble Paleochristrian sarcophagus from Martos is also worth special mention.
Visigothic culture is represented by architectural elements, a sarcophagus from Arjonilla and jewellery from the necropolis of Cerro Salido. Finally, from the Hispanic-Muslim period, various types of column caps, ceramics, gold and silver treasures and the tesoro de Charilla are held in the museum.
Fine Arts Section
This section offers us a series of sculptures and paintings from the 14th century until the 20th century. Worth special mention are the hall showing works from the 19th century, the monographic halls of Rafael Hidalgo de Caviedes and his son Hipólito, the hall with works by José Nogué, and the halls from the 20th century, with a magnificent painting by Antonio López.\
Any route through this section must pass through the hall displaying work by the Jaén painters and the monograph dedicated to the painter, Manuel Ángeles Ortiz, from Jaén.
This is the first of the thematic tours which the museum proposes and passes through the collection which is undoubtedly, its emblem.
The tour should begin from the annex building where the Cerrillo Blanco sculptures are exhibited, (5th century BC), depicting warriors fighting, animals, the initiation of the young, the cult of our ancestors and mythological heroism. Next, we go through to the central patio of the main building, where the El Pajarillo sculptures are exhibited, in a modern exhibition space, according to the information contributed by the excavation of this site. You can also find an exact reproduction of the Iberian Burial Chamber in Toya, from the 4th century BC, and the history of its discovery at the beginning of the 20th century.
Finally, the visitor can see the exhibition of funerary pieces, numismatic objects, ex-votos from the shrines of Despeñaperros and Castellar, in addition to two treasures of Iberian-roman silver and sculptures from various sites in Jaén.
Painters and sculptors from Jaén
The second proposed thematic tour begins in the hall of the museum with history painting by Rafael Hidalgo de Caviedes and the work by the sculptor, José Capuz, from Valencia. Then, you come to the hall exhibiting portraits of the monarchs such as María de las Mercedes María Cristina and Alfonso XII, by the painter, Pedro Rodríguez de la Torre, from Jaén, and the official portrait of Alfonso XIII, by the Catalan painter, José Nogué, who settled in Jaén.
The tour continues with a visit to the paintings by Pedro Rodríguez de la Torre, \"¿Alcanzará?\"; Manuel Fernández Carpio, \"Los extremos se tocan (Ends meet)\"; Genaro Giménez Linde, \"Puerta de Granada\"; and José Elbo, \"Toros en la Muñoza (Bulls in la Muñoza)\". We must also mention the monographic halls of the painters Rafael and Hipólito Hidalgo de Caviedes (father and son) and José Nogué.
Finally, it is necessary to visit the hall in which the collection of works by the most important painters and sculptors from Jaén can be seen, in particular, Rafael Zabaleta, Cristóbal Ruiz and the sculptor, Jacinto Higueras, and that dedicated to Manuel Ángeles Ortiz, in which there is also an engraving by his friend Picasso.