Indian Museum Kolkata– the History behind bearer of history:
Located in the heart of Kolkata, Indian Museum, or as known in the British colonial era, the Imperial Museum at Calcutta, was founded in 1814 by the curator of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Kolkata. Since the day of the foundation by Nathaniel Wallich, this museum stood as the pride of Kolkata or rather India. This building truly is a matter of pride since it falls under the category of the world’s 9th oldest museum, India’s oldest museum, and holds 2nd position in comparison to the largeness of Madras Museum.
The historic story that lies behind the construction of this building is marked as an event of the development of Indian culture and heritage. It is with the construction of this museum that the historic movement of museums had its beginning in India. Since 1814, beginning with the Indian Museum at Kolkata, India has seen the rise of about 400 museums. However, this was marked as the era of the emergence of scientific and socio-cultural achievements in India.
Establishment of Kolkata Museum :
With the rise of the museums began the modern epoch of Indian History. However, this concept of having a museum in India has its initiation in 1796. This idea of preservation of old artifacts and historic items in a receivable area was well accepted by the British Indian Government.
The concept started getting its shape from 1808. The government concentrated on the construction of this building at the corner of the now Park Street area in Calcutta. An effort for 6 years paved way for the establishment of the museum on February 2nd, 1814.
The honorary Curator started collected curious artefacts and objects of historic importance from different regions of India. Among the collection there were –
- 174 gifted items, that were received as a donation from European benefactor in 1816.
- The historic building received gifts and donations from 49 Indian donors.
After this, the scientist consulted and agreed upon opening founding new economic geological sections. Though established in 1814, the museum had its Gala Opening finally in 1840. Finally, in 1856, the Geological Survey of India removed the economic geological collection from the Museum of Economic Geology and shifted it to the historic building.
These collections were finally visual from 1858. This museum became public from 1862.
Location of this Museum:
In 1867, when the collection was good enough, began the foundation of the current museum building at the ideal area of Chowringhee, just before the Small Cause Court. This building got completed in 1878. After 64 years being there at the Asiatic Society ground in Park Street. Indian Museum, finally shifted to its current position in the heart of Kolkata, Chowringhee.
On 1st of April 1878, the first two public galleries opened in the building. They were the section for archaeological collection and the bird gallery under the zoological section. With the growth of the museum, slowly this was a multipurpose ground displaying six different sections –
- Art collections
- Anthropology section
- Zoological gallery
- Geology collections
- Galley related to Botany
This museum in its initial days was called the Asiatic Society Museum, followed by the Imperial Museum OfCalcutta after the merging of the economic Geological section. Finally, in 1878, the building was declared as the Indian Museum.
However, with time, the building earned more local names like – “Ajabghar” or “Jadughar”.
What all galleries are available for the public inside the Museum :
Are you planning to visit the famous museum in Kolkata? This is a must see when in Kolkata. Its is our cultural heritage. Once should know the galleries to visit when inside the museum. Having the list of galleries can make your life easier as the museum is big enough to work as a Maze.
- Indian or Bharat section- this is just the remains from the historic eastern gate called “Torana”.
- Bird, mammal, and insect sections under zoological gallery- consisting of the natural history collections like that of a dinosaur skeleton, prehistoric zoological fossils, and stuffed animals.
- Gallery of botany -containing plant samples and fossils.
- Gallery with the Bronze collection – consists of metal artifacts dating back to 8th to 14th century AD.
- Coin collection gallery- holds collection dating back to the 5th or 4th century BC.
- The gallery of decorative artifacts – the collection of ultimate art and craftmanship like pottery, Burmese collection, etc.
- The Egyptian Gallery with Egyptian sarcophagus, the famous 4000 years old mummy.
- Gallery of Gandhara Period – displaying the collections of bodhisattvas from 2nd century AD.
- The Galleries of painting and mask – the Galley for the mask is relatively new and opened on the 4th floor of the building in 2016. It consists of artifacts from Bhutan. The painting gallery holds miniature painting from different Indian and Persian era.
- The gallery of L. Archaeology holding a collection of sculptures of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The artifacts mostly belong to Kushana, Pallava, Senas, etc. from 2nd to 15th century AD.
Entry fees of the Indian Museum Kolkata:
If you have any recent plans to visit the museum, there is a nominal entrance fee of Rs. 10 for people holding Indian Nationality and Rs. 150 for foreigners.