Government Museum of Chennai

The Government Museum of Chennai is one of the most popular sightseeing pots in the city. It is deemed to be one of the oldest museums of India, as its inception dates back to the Colonial rule. There is a historical tale behind the origin of this Museum. In 1846 AD, the Madras Literary Society debated the proposal of establishing the museum. Finally, the proposal was approved by the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London. Chennai Government Museum has a sprawling complex and is sponsored by the State Government.

Government Museum, Chennai is a multi-purpose State Government Museum, which is the heart of the city, spreading to an area of 16.25 acres of land. Six independent buildings in this Museum campus have 46 galleries. In January 1851 AD, Dr. Edward Balfour, Medical Officer of the Governor`s Body guard was appointed as the First Officer in charge of the Government Museum.

From art to history, from relics to parchments, the Chennai Government Museum has something for every visitor. The Government Museum is divided into many sections – Geology, Archaeology, Zoology, Anthropology, Numismatics, Botany and Sculpture. The sculpture section is a big draw and makes it the foremost among the famous museums in Chennai. Bronze sculptures of Nataraja, Durga and Ganesha, hailing from the ancient Chola period are a definite must see.

In fact there are four separate galleries in the Government Museum. They are the Hindu Sculpture Gallery, the Bronze Gallery, the Amravathi Gallery and the National Art Gallery. Each one of these is a treasure waiting to be discovered by art and history lovers alike.

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For fans of numismatics, the Government Museum is an unlimited storehouse of delights. Coins from ancient empires and kingdoms tell their own tales of technological advancements and political situations. Noted among them is a coin of inscription of the emperor Samudragupta which portrays an Ashwameda Yagna.

Relics from the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Bronze ages are on display in the anthropological section of the Government Museum. Ancient pottery, weapons, tools and utensils… there is an almost infinite number of artefacts to discover and admire.

For those interested in art, the Government Museum has a lot to offer. Paintings in the Mughal, Rajput, Tanjore, Kangra and Deccan Schools are on display. So are the famous court scenes of the emperor Jehangir. If you are interested in the British era, you can see a lot of portraits of the various Governor Generals.

A special attraction of the Government Museum is the Children’s Museum, a section designed specifically to suit young minds. This museum has three sections – Civilisation Gallery, Transportation Gallery and Kid’s Corner.

The Museum is open between 9.30 am to 5.00 pm, except Fridays and National Holidays.


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