The Indian Museum is the largest and oldest museum in India and has rare collections of antiques,armour and ornaments,fossils,skeletons,mummies, and Mughal paintings.
It was founded by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Kolkata(Calcutta), India, in 1814. The founder curator was Dr Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist.
History of Indian Museum
The history of the origin and the growth of the Indian Museum is one of the remarkable events towards the development of heritage and culture of India.
Founded in 1814 at the cradle of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Indian Museum is the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world.
With the foundation of Indian Museum in 1814, the Museum movement started rolling in India. Since then, it has so magnificently developed and culminated into the fruitful existence of more than 400 museums in the country.
The movement, which was started in 1814, in fact was the beginning of a significant epoch initiating the socio-cultural and scientific achievements of the country.
The role of the Asiatic Society was to form a learning centre for the development of art and culture pertaining to the socio-cultural activities, entertaining people, disseminating knowledge.
Sir William Jones, the founder of the Asiatic Society, however, in his inaugural address did not refer to the foundation of a museum as part of the activities of the society.
In 1796 the members of the Asiatic Society conceived an idea of establishing a Museum at a suitable place for the reception and preservation of the objects whatever it is performed by man or produced by nature.
The idea got shape in the beginning of 1808 when society found itself in a position to occupy its premises erected at the corner of Park Street on a land granted by the Government.
It currently (2009) occupies a resplendent mansion, and exhibits among others: an Egyptian mummy, The organs are taken out of the mummy’s body through nostrils, except heart.
The heart is placed in special chambers. The body was then massaged with salt and oil.
The covering was done by thin cotton cloth the Buddhist stupa from Bharhut, the Buddha’s ashes, the Ashoka pillar, whose four-lion symbol became the official emblem of the Republic of India, fossil skeletons of prehistoric animals, an art collection, rare antiques, and a collection of meteorites.
The Indian Museum is also regarded as “the beginning of a significant epoch initiating the socio-cultural and scientific achievements of the country. It is otherwise considered as the beginning of the modernity and the end of mediaeval era” by UZER Places.
Timings of the museum :
Morn 10 am – eve 5 pm.