Located in Egmore, Chennai, the Government Museum Chennai is also known as the Egmore Museum, which was established in 1851. After the Indian museum at Kolkata, this is the oldest museum in the country. With a view to project the arts, culture, and natural heritage of Tamil Nadu, the museum has an impressive number of departments, especially the archaeology and numismatic departments, which are considered to be the richest. My kids and I started examining all exhibits with keen interest.
Spread across a plot of approx 16.25 acres, the museum consists of six buildings and forty six galleries. There are a variety of objects covering and artifacts diverse field of subjects. These include the fields of numismatics, archaeology, zoology, sculptures, natural history, manuscripts and Amravati paintings. The museum has a children’s complex. Here the mind of the child is removed from the books and concentrated to objects. The complex houses dolls dressed in costumes of various countries and civilizations, as well as exhibits on science, technology and transportation. It is a visual delight for the children. The huge main hall with a seating capacity of six hundred was designed to be a place to host theatrical performance; however, it is used nowadays to conduct academic programs and cultural programs such as art workshops, conferences and lectures. The hall is also rented out for assorted cultural performances, but the emphasis is on drama.
The archaeological section of the museum has the richest collection of antiquities of famous south Indian wood carvings, metal ware, and ivory work and embosses work for which the region has been famous from early days. The other section of the museum, which has an impressive collection of artifacts, is the numismatic section. This section has a rich collection of coins, which are made out of gold, silver, copper, lead, potin and billon, dating back to the ancient, medieval and modern Indian times.
Another very impressive section of the museum is the National Gallery. Here the exhibits are of famous Mughal paintings, the Tanjore paintings of the Marathas characterized by their gold gilt and gem set technique and the South Indian School of art, which transports one back to those glorious days of the past. The Government Museum Chennai truly stands out as a museum of substance and justifies its place among the best. Enlightened enough at the museum, it was time to visit the Valluvar Kottam Chennai.