When the British allowed Asantehene Prempeh I to return from exile in the Seychelles Islands and resume his position as "Kumasihene" (a term that attempted to limit his sovereignty to Kumase), their former actions left him no palace to return to. Upon his return in 1924, he took up temporary quarters in the new neighborhood known as Asafo. The British decided a "bungalow" in their own style would be most suitable, and planned to build it in Manhyia, rather than in the old palace site of Adum, which has since been commercialized.
Manhyia Palace is a symmetrical structure, the entrance porch leading to a wide hall. Its wooden-floored ground floor included five rooms, including a smoking room and an office for Prempeh I. The upper floor held three bedrooms, a dressing room, sitting room, and linen room. A separate garage and electric light (introduced 1929) were additions, and Prempeh II sought other expansions that included a guest house, a palace for the Queen Mother, a tennis court, and additional outbuildings. Dumouchelle observed that the arrangement of some of the structures--though made of permanent materials--was pre-colonial, with four open structures centered around an open courtyard (gyase).
Asantehenes Prempeh I (d. 1931) and two of his successors, Prempeh II (r. 1931-1970) and Opoku Ware II (1970-1999) also lived in the colonial building, and its current status as museum preserves original furnishings, dining services, telephones, and the first Kumase black and white television from 1965. It also houses precolonial swords, dress, and other royal regalia, as well as realistic fiberglass effigies of many former monarchs and queen mothers. Its public opening was planned as one of the culminating activities of a grand Jubilee celebration of Asantehene Opoku Ware II's 25th year on the throne, and took place in 1995.
Asantehene Opoku Ware II chose to dedicate the colonial structure as a museum for he had created a new palace next to it not long after his 1970 accession. This remains the residence of the reigning Asantehene, Osei Tutu II, which is shielded by wrought iron fencing. Outside both the old and new mansions are large public expanses that not only add to the grandeur of the palace compound, but are put to periodic practical use. Royal ceremonies take place on these lawns, with parade ground structures shielding musicians and select distinguished guests. The palace, museum, outbuildings, and grounds today occupy an area of about five acres, equivalent to the space the 19th-century Adum palace stood on, and used for both old and new purposes, albeit in Western styles.