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A museum is a global concept that is common everywhere and in every country. It is a peek into the time and space that we are not a part of, a prospect to interact with the past through what has been left behind for us. It is the house where the past resides and showcases how the humanity has evolved in hundreds of years. Museums are of utmost significance as they help in preserving the objects and materials of culture, historical, and religious importance and display it to the public in a fascinating manner that piques interest, offers amusement, and are crucial for research and educational purpose.

India is a country with a stunning architectural beauty, a mix of numerous cultures and traditions with a rich legacy. It has a majestic past that includes various emperors, rulers, and kings who have all contributed significantly to the diverse and tradition laced country that is India. In almost every city of the country, one can come across a museum that displays the magnificent past of that specific place or a great person who lived there and unfolds various unknown facets of bygone eras.India displays a plethora of resources that shed light on its rich culture and heritage. The Museum in India store and display an extensive collection Indian sculptures and objects of cultural, religious, and historical significance to gaze upon and explore. They portray the splendor of the past, history of technical evolution, human stories, and micro-histories of all possible objects.

India’s museum movement officially began with the inception of ‘The Indian Museum’ in Kolkata in 1814. It was the first ever physical encyclopedia of historical and religious past, biological evolution, art and craft, coinage, armory, and much more. This was followed by several other distinct museums across the nation to preserve our invaluable legacy and teleport the visitors to the ancient era and enlighten themselves with the numerous nuances of the lives of the people in the bygone era. There are numerous museums in India which offer broad view of the development of not only the cultural and historical legacy of India but scientific evolution of living species, evolution of currencies, art and craft, textiles, space history, and much more.

Fine Arts Museum: Fine arts museum contains all types of drawings, paintings, sculpture, architecture, etc. India has numerous fine arts museums which display paintings of different art schools made by known artists and the blooming young artists as well. These exhibit aesthetically valuable objects belonging to rich cultural heritage and their specimens are divided into three art museums namely - Modern Contemporary Art Museum, Folk Art Museum, and Crafts Museum. Some of the famous fine arts, modern arts, and folk-art museums in India are:

Historical Museum: Historical museums demonstrate historical or periodic events, personalities, etc. These are set up to preserve and exhibit relics of the past that relate to historical and cultural heritage.They portray weapons, statues, memorabilia, and artifacts made of stones and other materials. Historical museums can further be classified into Transport Museum which preserve heritage of rail, water and air transport, Defense Museum, Jail Museum, and Archaeological Museums as well. Some of the famous historical museums pertaining to transport, defense, archaeology, and jail are:

  • Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum, Ahmedabad
  • Archaeological Museum of Guntur
  • Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
  • Cellular Jail National Memorial, Port Blair
  • Padmanabhapuram Palace Museum, Tamil Nadu
  • National Rail Museum, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
  • Sudha Cars Museum, Hyderabad
  • Rail Museum, Darjeeling
  • Naval Aviation Museum, Goa
  • National Maritime Museum, Mumbai
  • National Defense Museum, New Delhi
  • Gallery Museum of Punjab Regimental Centre, Jharkhand

Science and Technology Museum: These showcase all the things which are demonstrativeof the evolution of history, science, and technology such as fossils and ancient technology. Here specimens of natural science, physical science, evolution of scientific ideas and technology, its application, specimens resulting from scientific and technological research are demonstrated. Some of the most popular science and technology museums are:

Archaeological Museum: These museums comprise of all the objects related to the past that have been dug out from the grounds during excavation. These museums preserve prehistory and protohistory acrylics like statutory art, pottery, coins, tools, etc., which have observed revolutionary changes in cultural development. Some of the most famous archaeological museums are:

  • Sri KSR District Archaeological Museum of Anantpur
  • Bhagwan Mahavir Museum of Cuddapah,
  • Baudhasree Archaeological Museum of Guntur
  • The Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum of Ahmedabad
  • Tulsi Archaeological Museum of Satna

General Museum: These museums contain more than one type of object and therefore are known as multidisciplinary museums. They showcase an extensive collection of objects such as specimens of art, archaeology, numismatics, epigraphy, painting, manuscripts, arms, decorative, arts, textiles, natural history, etc. Some famous examples of general museums in India are:

  • The Indian Museum, Kolkata
  • The National Museum, New Delhi
  • Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad
  • The Assam State Museum of Guwahati, Assam
  • Bhagalpur Museum, Bihar
  • Black Magic and Witchcraft Museum, Assam

Museum House: These are converted museums which were once a dwelling of a famous personality such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bhimrao Ambedkar, Tipu Sultan, etc. These museums keep the belongings and every nuance of the place intact, for example all the furniture, photographs, personal belongings in a room or house. Some of the famous Museum-Houses are:

  • Step Aside Museum, Darjeeling (where freedom fighter Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das passed away in 1925)
  • Sabarmati Ashram, Gandhinagar (where Mahatma Gandhi lived)
  • Tipu Sultan Palace, Karnataka (his summer house)
  • Rabindrabharati Museum of Jorasanki Thakurbari, Kolkata birthplace and home of the Tagores)

Sports Museum: Sports museum document both general and specialized sports activities and the evolution of sports in India. The exhibits in these museums can include dresses of different sports and sportspersons, medals, trophies, photographs, etc. Two of the famous sports museums of India are:

  • Museum under the Sports Authority of India, New Delhi
  • The Kriradipti Museum, Siliguri (Bengal)
  • Fanatic Sports Museum, Kolkata

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q1. What is the Hindu place of worship called?

A hindu place of worship is called as a ‘Mandir’.

Q2. Which is the first ever museum of India?

The Indian Museum in Kolkata is the first museum of India and one of the oldest museums in the world.

Q3. How many museums are there in India?

There are approximately 1000 museums in India.

Q4. What is the definition of a museum?

A museum is not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets, and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. It is open to public, accessible, and inclusive and foster diversity, and sustainability.

Q5. What are the types of museums?

Museums are generally classified into five categories – General Museum, Natural History and Natural Science Museum, Science and Technology Museum, Historical Museum, and Art Museum.

Q5. Which is India’s biggest museum?

The Indian Museum in Kolkata is the largest and oldest museum of India.

Q5. What are the six functions of museum?

The six basic functions of a museums are:

  • Acquisition of Materials
  • Recording of Materials
  • Preservation of Materials
  • Research
  • Exhibition of Materials
  • Impart Knowledge

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