Friday, November 17, 2006

National Museum

Old Museum bldg. at Deuri (Nimtoli)

Stone carving objects in dispaly in old museum at Deuri (Nimtoli)

Bangladesh National Museum Bldg at Shahbagh

Flower sellers on pavement opposite to Museum

Bangladesh National Museum at Shahbagh is the successor to the Dhaka Museum inaugurated by Lord Carmichael, the Governor of Bengal in Dhaka on 7th August 1913. Initially housed at Baraduwari, it was shifted to Deuri at Nimtoli (now in the premises of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh) in July 1915.

Since inception, its collection has grown enormously covering a wide range of objects. On 20th September 1983, the Museum was shifted to its present premises at Shahbagh near Dhaka University.

The Museum building is 4-storied, with a exhibition area of more than 20,000 sqm. and 46 galleries. It is one of the largest in South Asia. The Museum building comprises of 3 auditoriums for holding functions, and a exhibition hall. The Museum has a rich Library, an Audio-visual section, a Conservation Laboratory and a photographic section.

At present, it has more than 83 thousand objects representing Hindu-Buddhist civilization of olden times, Islamic heritage of Bengal, and life, culture and society of contemporary Bangladesh. Among the articles, Buddhist and Brahminical stone sculptures, architectural pieces, Arabic and Persian inscriptions, pieces of calligraphy are most significant. The coin cabinet is especially rich.

The Museum has a good collection of Sanskrit and Bengali manuscripts, written on hand-made paper, palm leaf and birch bark, and terracotta objects representing different ages. The Persian documents include a Forman of Mughal Kings and Miniature Paintings.

Besides these, medieval arms and weapons, porcelain, metal work, filigree works of Dhaka, exquisite embroidered quilts, superb ivory works, wooden furniture, a rare piece of world famous Dhaka Muslin are displayed.

Collection of natural history specimens includes flora and fauna, fossils, rocks and minerals of Bangladesh and some impressive dioramas depicting the forest life and Sundarbans milieu. The most significant objects are: ancient petrified wood (2.5 million years old) collected from Lalmai and Mainamati; Blackstone Naga Darwaza (serpent doorway) of 10th-11th century, pieces of atom bombs blasted in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945;
The galleries of liberation war (1971), mementos of martyred intellectuals (1971) and Language Movement (1952) have added a new dimension.

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