(Last Updated on : 17/02/2009)
West Bengal is one of the states that pioneered modern museum development in India with prestigious institutions like the Indian Botanical Garden (1787), the Asiatic Society (1784), the Indian Museum (1814) and many others. Indian Museum was built in 1875 and it is an extraordinary building in the Italian style of architecture. This happens to be the largest Museum in the country and features six sections, namely Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Industry (Economic Botany). The museum is closed on Mondays.
Town Hall is a historical Hall in Kolkata that had been the venue of public meetings and social gatherings since its foundation in 1814. The architecture is in Doric style that required almost Rs. 7 lakhs by means of public lotteries. Town Hall has recently been restored to its original form with the addition of a library and an Archive. Asiatic Society
was built on January 15, 1784. A meeting was held at the Fort William with thirty leading European citizens of Kolkata, presided over by the Chief Justice, Sir Robert Chambers of the Supreme Court and there a proposal of founding a Society for antiquities, arts, science and literature of Asia was passed.
Central Municipal Building was built in 1872. This Municipal Office was built at a cost of Rs. 1 lakh exclusive of the price of the land. Mr. Osmond of Mackintosh Burn & Co designed the building and the total cost of construction of 1.98 lakh. Netaji Bhawan was originally it was the house of Subhash Chandra Bose
or The Netaji. The display in the museum includes a giant collection of photographs, personal belonging and letter of Netaji`s. Academy of Fine Arts was established in 1933 and the archive of this museum include contemporary Indian Art including specimens of art of medieval Bengal and Indian textiles, medieval Indian miniature paintings, Kashmir shawls, 19th century prints and some unique stone sculptures. Asutosh Museum of Indian Art was built in 1937 and named after the great educationist, Asutosh Mookerjee. The museum was built with the objective of collecting, preserving and exhibiting objects of Indian art and antiquity with special focus on Eastern India and specifically Bengal.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research founded Birla Industrial and Technological Museum in 1956 at Kolkata. The museum houses all the components related to basic science and technology and has large number of exhibits, designed, prepared and fabricated at its own workshop. Galleries feature models showing electricity, Iron and Steel, Electronics, Nuclear Physics, Motive Power, Optics, Communication and Mining. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata was founded in1961. The museum has a large collection of photographs portraying Gandhiji`s life and has a good library of Gandhian literature. The Cultural Research Institute established Ethnographic Museum in 1955, and the objects on view include hunting-tools and equipment, dresses and ornaments, fishing gears, furniture, utensils, spinning and weaving.
Nehru Children`s Museum has exclusive collections including puppets depicting the Ramayana
and the Mahabharata
. There are many dolls wearing national costumes from different countries, miniature working models of railway crossings and others. Rabindra-Bharati Museum is located in the ancestral house of Rabindranath Tagore
and attached to the Rabindra-Bharati University
. Founded in the year 1961, a major section of this museum deals with the life and works of the poet. The rich collection of books, original paintings, manuscripts, photographs and other items related to the unforgettable personalities of the 19th century such as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
and Dwarkanath Tagore are also seen in this museum.
State Archaeological Gallery was built in 1962 and houses rare tools of the Early, Middle and the Late Stone Ages from Susunia (Bankura) and other sites, proto-historic relic from Pandu Rajar Dhibi (Burdwan), terracottas, sculptures and so on. Victoria Memorial
has a museum housing items relating to Indian history from the 17th to the 20th century such as relics, documents and personal commodities. The Zoological Garden was established in 1875 and is one of the largest in the country. The garden is well stocked with many varieties of popular important and interesting fauna collected from India and abroad.
Rev. William Carey and his associate established Carey Museum in 1818 at Kolkata. The museum is best known for its great collection of manuscripts and examples of early printing in India and abroad. The manuscripts are found in diverse Indian and Asian scripts and languages, copies of Hindu scriptures like the Vedas and the Upanishads are also found. Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya has a large collection of photographs depicting Gandhiji`s life since its foundation in 1961.
Tagore memorial museum or Rabindra Bhavana at Shantiniketan was founded in 1942 and is a place echoing the memory of the famous poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore
. This Bhavana exhibits the personal collections of Gurudev and also the gifts presented to him from India and other foreign lands. A well stacked library and a general section with extravagant collection of paintings; letters written by celebrities and manuscripts are enclosed in this center. The museums of West Bengal are rich in its content and are massive archives for purposes like research and study.