Museums are wonderful places. They bring together pieces from different junctions of time and space for people to learn from and appreciate. ‘Museum’ is defined as an institution that is dedicated to the preserving and interpreting of primary tangible evidence of humankind and the environment. It is worth noting that museums are not just set up to recreate a particular landmark event or an artist. It is to learn, understand and appreciate experiences and perspectives through lived realities.
With a country as diverse and intriguing as India, it is no surprise that there are more than 400 listed museums in the country dedicated to various aspects of human and natural existence. Here we bring to you a quick pick of five unique museums that will remain etched in the museum of your mind.
1. Blades of Glory Cricket Museum, Pune
When we think of museums, sports is not usually something we expect to see. However, we are a country that loves cricket and adores its cricketers. It is, therefore, no surprise that we have a museum dedicated to cricket.
Established in 2012 by a professional cricketer, this museum showcases a collection of cricket gear, autographed helmets, bats, balls, and so on, and rooms dedicated to that stalwarts of cricket. There are meticulous records of important matches and tournaments and an extensive collection of rare items used by exalted crickets from the world over.
Visiting Hours: 10 am – 7 pm on all days
Entry Fee: ₹100
2. Swatantrata Sangrama Sangrahalaya, Delhi
Our freedom struggle from colonial rule has defined the nation’s identity in fundamental ways. One of the foremost museums that showcases the realities of the enduring journey to the struggle of freedom is the Swatantrata Sangrama Sangrahalaya. Located at Red Fort, the museum is dedicated to the courageous sacrifices made by the numerous leaders and showcases their contributions through media reports, art work, photographs, statues, weapons, letters and so on.
The museum, owned and curated by the Archeological Survey of India, has a special emphasis on the first uprising of 1857.
Visiting Hours: 9 am–5 pm. Closed on Fridays.
Entry Fee: Rs 35
3. Don Bosco Museum of Indigenous Cultures, Shillong
A large part of our heritage comes from our indigenous communities. From handicrafts to indigenous intelligence on agriculture and medicine, their contributions are remarkable. The Don Bosco Museum at Shillong does a great job at capturing authentic glimpses of the many indigenous communities hailing from the northeastern parts of the country.
Spread over seven floors, the museum covers many aspects of the lives of these very diverse communities. Clothing, musical instruments, weapons, utensils, houses, ornaments, handicrafts and even food habits of the numerous tribes are displayed with utmost respect and dignity for indigenous communities.
Summer (February -November): 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Winter (December – January 31) : 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
4. Calico Museum of Textiles, Ahmedabad
A textile is perhaps the most common form of wearable fabric. Communities are held together by many cultural markers and a prominent one among them is the fabric that is being worn.
The Calico Museum of Textiles has been established by the Sarabhai family in the 1940 and is India’s premier textile museum. The collection of textiles is considered the most comprehensive in the world, including some of the finest and most rare pieces. Textiles are prone to damage caused by humidity, dust, air pollution and fluctuations in temperatures. The museum authorities try to offset these factors with the help of the trees around the museum complex. The arrangement of lights inside the museum is designed with the intention to minimise the damage caused to the fabrics while highlighting their minute details and enhancing their beauty.
Visiting hours: 10.15 am to 12.30 pm; 2.45 pm to 4.30 pm. Closed on Wednesdays
Entry fee: Free
5. The Indian Museum, Kolkata
The Indian Museum is the largest and oldest museum in India and only the ninth oldest museum of the world. The museum is considered to be the beginning of a significant epoch initiating the socio-cultural and scientific achievements of the country and rightfully so.
The museum houses displays in a host of categories such as fossils, remains, artefacts and paintings covering areas as diverse as art, economic botany, archeology and more. There are four galleries dedicated to natural history – the botanical, insect, mammal and bird galleries. The galleries display a host of prehistoric artifacts including a huge skeleton of a dinosaur.
Visiting Hours: 10 am – 5 pm. Closed on Mondays
Entry fee: ₹10