Indian Museum- The Museum that Began an Era
Every room hides a million tales. Every brick smells of a history, made immortal. Such is the magnificence of the Indian Museum.
When one decides to go on a city tour in Kolkata, he is inevitably escorted to the Indian Museum to see its rare collections of antiques, armour, ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies and Mughal paintings. Built by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, in 1814, the majestic building stands tall in its grandeur, complete with its rich cultural significance in the history of India.
The Indian Museum is the largest and the oldest museum in India and considered to be the ninth oldest regular museums of the world. Fondly referred to as the ‘Jaadughar’ or ‘House of Wonder’ by the Samaritans of the city, the Indian Museum is a relic of Italian architecture.
Under the leadership of Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist, who became the founder curator, the Indian Museum was established at Park Street, in 1808. In 1878, the exhibits of the Indian Museum were transferred to its present building in Dharmatala, designed by the famous British architect Walter Granville- the man behind the designs of the Calcutta High Court and the General Post Office.
The architecture of the Indian Museum resembles a simplistically designed grand white Neoclassical-style building, with three floors. Each floor houses colonnaded pavilions and massive halls. The total area is divided into thirty five galleries, whose sizes vary depending on what they feature. These are broadly classified under six sections, namely, Archaelogical, Geological, Anthropological, Zoological, Economy Botany and Art. Along with these, there also exists a colossal public library that houses several books and is open to the common people for minimal membership charges.
All in all, the Indian Museum is truly a remarkable building in the history of time!
Did You Know?
The construction of the Indian Museum brought about a new wind of change and spurred the museum movement in India, which eventually led to the establishment of around 400 museums all over the country. The beginning of this movement also marks the start of the modern period after the end of the medieval era.