Location of Government Museum of Chennai
Initially, Government Museum of Chennai was set up in an edifice on the College Road, Nungambakkam, in 1851, later on, in 1854; it was shifted to the present locale in Egmore.
Foundation of Government Museum of Chennai
Madras Literary Society debated the proposal for a museum in Madras in 1846 AD and Sir Henry Pottinger, the then Governor, obtained the approval of the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London. In January 1851 AD, Dr. Edward Balfour, Medical Officer of the Governor's Body guard was appointed as the First Officer in charge of the Government Museum. The Government Museum of Chennai otherwise called as the Central Museum was started in the College of Fort St. George, in the premises of the present office of the Director of Public Instruction, on College Road. The Museum was started in the first floor of the college with the 1100 geological specimens of the Madras Literary Society. It gradually developed and expanded under the guidance and administration of a series of directors. As the building was in a decaying condition the Museum's Superintendent Dr. Balfour advocated shifting it to another building. In December 1854 AD, it was shifted to a building named the Pantheon, also known as the Public Rooms or Assembly Rooms, where the influential people of the city met. The Government Museum of Chennai was formally opened on December 5, 1896 AD by Sir Arthur Elibank Havelock, the then Governor and named after its progenitor, Lord Connemara, Governor General of Madras.
Collections in Government Museum of Chennai
Government Museum of Chennai has a collection of 1200 objects which include a huge array of artefacts, palm-leaf manuscripts and other objects that have been segmented into various sections including geology, archaeology, zoology, anthropology, numismatics, botany and sculpture. Paintings of famous artists in India from various Art Schools are represented in the collection. The traditional paintings consist of Rajput, Mughal, Kangra, Tanjore, Deccanand South Indian School of Art. Bidriware, Metalware, Ivory and Sandalwood objects are also in the collection. The modern paintings consist of works of well-known artists namely Raja Ravi Varma, D.P. Roy Chowdhury, Nandalal Bose, Jaimini Roy and artists from Tamil Nadu. The Government Museum of Chennai also has a very rich collection of the ancient, medieval and modern Indian coins made of gold, silver, copper, lead and billon. Besides these there is a representative collection of foreign currency. There are at present 250 medals in the section, a greater part of which are exhibition medals, of very little interest. The rare pieces are the Mysore medals.
The Government Museum of Chennai has 4 main galleries including the Hindu Sculpture Gallery, Bronze Gallery, Amravathi Gallery and the National Art Gallery. There is a Childrens Museum which is a very special segment dedicated to children. It has three main sub-divisions namely, Civilization Gallery, Kids Corner and the Transportation Gallery.
Government of Chennai Museum is one of the beautiful Museums to watch and a treat for the eyes of the visitors. The museum holds great significance and charm amongst its visitors.
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