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अंग्रेज़ी सीखने का अवसर (कक्षा प्रारंभ : 5 अक्तूबर, शाम 6 से 8)
Indian Museum Turns 200 Years Old
Apr 30, 2014

Famous and prestigious Indian Museum in Kolkata celebrated its bicentenary recently. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the main function. To pay tribute to the founder of Indian Museum, Dr. Nathanial Wallich, a memorial lecture was also delivered by Prof. Romila Thapar on the subject The Museum: Thoughts on its Past and Future.  As part of the one year long programme during 2014-15, a large number of activities are planned which include research, gallery development, exhibitions, establishment of new centres, organizing of various seminars, workshops and conferences.

On February 2, 1814, Dr. Nathanial Wallich, a Danish Botanist wrote a letter to the Asiatic Society advocating Sir William Jones’s idea of the establishment of a museum which led ultimately to the establishment of Indian Museum. This date is considered as the foundation day of the Museum. During these 200 years the Indian Museum, considered as the first National Museum in India has expanded to become the largest repository of the Nation’s cultural and national heritage.

The history of the origin and the growth of the Indian Museum is one of the remarkable events in the history of India. Sir William Jones, one of the profound scholars devoted his life to the service of India, founded Asiatic Society in 1784. The ultimate goal of its foundation was to establish a learning centre for the enrichment of art and culture of the geographical limits of Asia. In 1796 the members of the Asiatic Society realized an idea of establishing a museum at a suitable place for the reception and preservation of the objects. Dr. Nathanial Wallich, a Danish Botanist located in Calcutta, proposed to the Council of the Asiatic Society on  February 2, 1814 for the foundation of a museum  at the premises of the Society. He offered not only to act as Honorary Curator of the proposed museum but also to supply the duplicates from his old valuable collection. His proposal was readily accepted by the members of the Society. Thus a museum, under the guidance of Dr. Nathanial Wallich was established in 1814 at the cradle of the Asiatic Society. The date February 2, on which Nathaniel Wallich mooted the idea of the Museum which finally led to the establishment of the Museum, is considered as the foundation day of the Museum.

From 1814 to 1878 the Museum was at the Asiatic Society located at 1, Park Street, Kolkata. The Museum which was known in the beginning as the Asiatic Society Museum subsequently came to be known as the Imperial Museum and later as the Indian Museum. It is more familiar by the name Jaadughar among the local public. The foundation of the present building of the Indian Museum was laid in 1867 and completed in the year 1875. Soon after the completion of its construction, the Museum was shifted from the Asiatic Society to the present site at Chowringhee Road in the year 1878 and was thrown open to the public with two galleries on April 1, 1878. Later on it was transformed into a multipurpose institution where multi-disciplinary objects have been displayed in its six sections viz, Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Zoology, Geology and Botany.

The Indian Museum is the largest museum in India and has rare collections of antiques, armour and ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies, and Mughal paintings. It has 6 sections comprising 35 galleries of cultural and scientific artifacts namely Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Economic Botany. This multipurpose Institution with multi-disciplinary activities has been included as an Institute of national importance in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. It currently occupies a resplendent mansion, and exhibits among others: an Egyptian mummy, 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.

Apart from its unique collections many modern centres of learning in India such as Anthropological Survey of India, Botanical Survey of India and Zoological Survey of India owe their origin to the Indian Museum. Archaeological Survey of India and Geological Survey of India worked close with the Museum in their nascent stages and even now their headquarters are in the same campus.

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