History of Odisha State Museum
The Odisha State Museum was established in the year, 1932. It is the result of the initiative taken by two historians namely, Professor N. C Banerjee and Professor Ghanshyam Dash of Ravenshaw College in Cuttack. They had visited different places to garner ancient objects. These historical relics were brought to the College and stored in a small place for display. In 1938, the Government of Odisha transformed this small place into the Provincial Museum of Odisha, following a suitable command. During 1945-1946, the occupants of the museum were housed in a separate building called the Brahmananda building, which is known to be located in old Bhubaneswar. At the same time, the Government of Odisha raised this museum to the status of being the State Museum of Odisha. In 1950, Patel Hall became the next storehouse for the archaeological objects of the State Museum. Yet another shift took place in a building in Unit - I, Bhubaneswar. In 1957, the then President of India, Rajendra Prasad laid the foundation of the Museum. It was in 1960 that the Museum became functional in it’s current building.
Promotion of Odisha State Museum
To create a sense of awareness about the museum and also attract students and the general public to the museum, Odisha State Museum authorities took certain initiatives. A close contact with the Archaelogical Department of the Government of India was established. Leaflets were printed in two languages, Odia and English. They were published in the Samaj and the New Odisha and their copies were distributed among officials and common people. This museum thus gained popularity and was started being attended by large number of people. Contact was also established with the teachers of the History Department. They took the initiative to promote and explain the cultural exhibits and the importance of Odisha State Museum.
Managing Body of Odisha State Museum
The Odisha State Museum is the property of the Government of Odisha. More specifically, its Cultural Affairs Department manages the administrative functions of the State Museum. The director of the museum is Manjushree Samantarai.
Galleries and Exhibits of Odisha State Museum
Odisha State Museum has a total of 8 galleries. They are the Anthropology gallery, Archaeological gallery, Art and Craft gallery, Manuscript gallery, Arms and Ammunitions gallery, Epigraphy and Numismatic gallery, Mining & Geology gallery and Natural History gallery. These galleries are a home to a variety of objects of great antiquity. As per estimations, around 56,375 artifacts are housed inside the Odisha State Museum. They are known to be as old as 3rd century B.C. This museum also has a library.
A visit to the Anthropological gallery will familiarize a person with the lifestyle of tribal people using specific items of the past. Different stone objects are preserved in the Archaeology gallery. The Art and Craft gallery is adorned with bronze items belonging to the 8th century. Traditional handicrafts of Odisha are also housed inside this gallery. In the Manuscript gallery, manuscripts as old as 12th century are found. They are written on bamboo leaves, barks of kumbhi, delicate palm, bhurja of earlier centuries, ivory paper cut in the shape of garland, parrot, fan, fish, sword and others. The Arms and Ammunitions gallery is a storehouse for the weapons made out of iron, steel and ammunitions made of animal skin. People may also be amazed looking at the rare epigraphic records which are preserved in the Epigraphy Gallery.
Apart from the historical relics classified in the respective galleries above, there are other items of historical and cultural significance in the State Museum. They are the stone inscriptions, sculptures of varied shapes and sizes, brassware, copper plates, coins, small paintings and the traditional and folk musical instruments used by the tribal people in ancient times. The Odisha State Museum arranges for an interesting audio presentation of the musical instruments for its visitors. A collection of patta paintings may be a visual treat for the visitors. A devotional poem named Gita Govinda is also sheltered in the State Museum.
The Odisha State Museum has good transport availability. Nearest airport to this museum is Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneshwar. This airport is situated at a distance of about 2 km from Odisha State Museum. Nearest railway station to this museum is Bhubaneswar train station. This station is situated at a distance of about 1 km from Odisha State Museum.
Indian State Museums
Museums of Orissa
Museums Of Tamil Nadu
Museums of Uttar Pradesh
Museums of Madhya Pradesh
Museums of Andhra Pradesh
Museums in West Bengal
Indian Archaeological Museums
Archaeological sites in Odisha