Glasgow Corporation bought the Ingram Street building containing the tearooms in 1950.
The interiors were moved to a Corporation store in 1971, before the building was demolished. Before they were removed to the store, art historian Roger Billcliffe led a team to record the interiors. The team included Mackintosh's old firm of architects Honeyman and Keppie.
They made drawings, photographed the unfurnished rooms, and noted the position of each piece of panelling.
Glasgow Corporation transferred the tearooms to Glasgow Museums in 1978, and they lay in storage for the next 15 years.