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National Museum, New Delhi

Considered one of the largest Indian museums, the National Museum in New Delhi differentiates itself from the rest since its establishment in 1949. Major collections inside it are numerous types of articles which belong to the pre-historic period as well as those from the modern art works et al to offer best exploration option. Government of India’s Ministry of Culture supervises it its functioning. Located in the confluence of Janpath and Maulana Azad Road, this museum is strategically accessible by all. This national museum’s blueprint was designed by the committee named Gwyer Committee. The Government of India had setup that committee in 1946 for that purpose. Major collections in the museum include approximately 200,000 artworks that represent Indian and foreign categories to represent a period of 5,000 years and more. On Mondays this museum observes weekly off.

The National Museum Institute of History of Arts, Conservation and Museology is located on the first floor of this huge museum building. That institute was established in 1983 that was given Deemed University status in 1989. It runs courses in Master’s and Doctoral level specialised into Art History, Museology and Conservation amongst others.


To understand the history of the National Museum one should know the roots from a humble step to start an Indian art exhibition at the Royal Academy in London from 1947 to 1948 to portray the ascent of Indian art which inspired for this. A decision was taken by the exhibition curators soon after the London exhibition was concluded to start display of all those art collections in India in the best of forms prior to giving back the artefacts to their individual museum owners. It was in 1949 that the Indian exhibition held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in India. Its mega success inspired for a step to form the National Museum which could permanently exhibit art. The formal inauguration of the National Museum therefore held on 15 August 1949, and Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, the then Governor-General of India inaugurated it. One more decision was taken at that time that until and unless a permanent place isn’t found to keep the art collections, Rashtrapati Bhawan would be the temporary place for them to be housed.

The then prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru laid the cornerstone of current museum building on 12 May 1955. It was on 18 December 1960 that this building was inaugurated formally for the common masses.

The Ministries of Culture and Tourism administers the functioning of this museum at present.

Departments and Collections

The National Museum has several departments right now which function as mentioned below.

  • Pre-History Archaeology

  • Archaeology

  • Manuscripts

  • Numismatics & Epigraphy

  • Paintings

  • Arms & Armour

  • Decorative Arts

  • Central Asian Antiquities

  • Pre-Columbian Art

  • Jewellery

  • Anthropology

  • Education

  • Public Relations

  • Publication

  • Conservation

National Museum collection has wider avenue and therefore covers everything mentioned above. It has the representation of all art disciplines that include the Archaeology section for sculptures in the categories of stone, bronze and terracotta besides those in arms, armour and rest categories such as jewellery, decorative arts, miniatures, manuscripts and Tanjore paintings et al. Other collections are from the numismatics to textiles, Central Asian Antiquities, epigraphy, pre-Columbian American and Western Art collections and anthropology collections et al.

With more than 200,000 arts works this museum has become prominent one with the art collection comprising of those in foreign origin category to Indian. Most of them are collections representing more than 5,000 years of cultural heritage which is enriched with global collections. Notably, this museum is famous for its excellent collection of numerous creative arts representing different types of traditions and disciplines and therefore they remain famous for being diverse but united in terms of collection. The collections are unequal blend representing past as well as modern times whose exceptionally important future perspective keeps the history enlivened.


With its two floors, the National Museum building structure is surrounded by the rotunda that make it unique and attractive.


  • Harappan Gallery

  • Maurya, Shunga and Satvahana Arts Gallery

  • Kushana Gallery

  • Gupta Gallery

  • Medieval Arts Gallery

  • Early Medieval Artefacts

  • Late Medieval Artefacts

  • Decorative Arts Gallery

  • Miniature Paintings Gallery

  • Buddhist Artefacts Gallery

  • Evolution of Indian Scripts & Coins Gallery

  • Bronze Gallery

  • Manuscripts Gallery

  • Coins Gallery

  • Central Asian Gallery

  • Maritime Heritage Gallery

  • Tanjore & Mysore Paintings Gallery

  • Textiles Gallery

  • Pre-Columbian & Western Arts Gallery

  • Tribal Lifestyle of North East India Gallery

  • Sharan Rani Bakliwal Musical Instruments Gallery

  • Wood Carving Gallery

  • Arms and Armour Gallery