A museum located within the premises of the first ever construction done by the Britishers in India as Fort St. George, the Fort Museum was established in 1948 and offers the visitors an overview of the inception of British trading in India and the beginnings of the British Raj. An ideal place for history buffs, the Fort Museum offers a glimpse to the olden period not only about the British colonial period but the Dutch, French, and Portuguese rule too.
Timing: 9 am to 5 pm (Friday closed)
Location: Rajaji Salai, Near Legislature and Secretariate, Fort St. George, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Entry Fees: Rs.5 for Indians, Rs.100 for foreigners
Jump back in time and witness the first-ever construction done by the Britishers in India in the city of Chennai as Fort St. George (or historically White Town), the magnificent fortress was founded in 1644 and provided further trading activities in India. The fort stands tall with six-meter-high walls that withstood many assaults in the 18th century before. The fort was taken by the French for a short duration of 1746 to 1749 before the Britishers reclaimed it and ended the war of the Austrian Succession. The fort is now used as an administrative headquarters for the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu.
The Fort Museum was established in 1948 and is located within the premises of St. George Fort. Administered by the Archaeological Survey of India, the museum displays a wide range of archaeological items and a fascinating assortment of memorabilia from the British and French East India companies along with the Raj and Muslim period. With a display of arms, ammunition, uniforms, medals, paintings, prints, and textiles of East India Company, Indo French, and Orders of Mysore along with a 14.5-feet tall statue of Lord Cornwallis in the entrance, the museum attracts a lot of visitors.
The antiquities in the museum are showcased in ten galleries that are spread over three floors. The Fort Museum showcases different items from the British period and the relics remind visitors of the British Raj in India. Some of the objects in the display are coins, weapons, medals, uniforms, and different other artifacts from Scotland, England, France, and India which date back to the colonial period. Original letters from Cornwallis and Clive also make up for some interesting reading along with some sets of quaint period army uniforms that are also exhibited for watching. Several porcelains tableware used by the British officials and similar ware of Arcot Nawabs is showcased in the Porcelain Gallery. The Portrait Gallery exhibits oil paintings, portraits, paintings on canvas of George III and his consort Queen Victoria, Robert Clive, and Sir Arthur.
The Miscellany Gallery displays Church silverware from the St. Mary’s Church, Zion Church, and Tranquebar. Displays like sketches made by Thomas and his nephew William Daniell, Salt H. Merke, and others are exhibited in Prints and Documents Gallery which also depict Indian monuments and scenery. The Coin Gallery displays coins from the British, Dutch, French, and Portuguese eras. At last, in the Reserve Collection, numerous antiquities such as the First Marriage Register of the St. Mary’s Church recorded the marriage of Robert Clive, the Bible used by Strenysham Master, one of the significant men behind the construction of the Church, are displayed.