The tangible substitute for artistic treasure, Rejuvenating the lost historical tales. Museums set up an environment for humans to experience numerous phases of culture, traditions, historical and archeological, art and technology, and other kinds through art exhibits. The evolution of exhibition spaces creates a sense of connection between people and aspects of the country’s civilization, culture, history, and architecture. The National Museum Delhi is one of the evident artistic spaces that took people throughout the timeline of various art forms of India and foreign countries. The museum building is a reflection of India’s glorious past and a treasure to the present to experience alternate learnings.
The emergence of the past within the present | National Museum New Delhi
In 1947-1948, in the era of independence Royal Academy of London exhibited Indian artifacts and art forms and envisaged the idea of setting up a Museum building for the people to evident the Indian culture through artworks. Finally, in 1949, The National Museum of Delhi was open to the public under the Government of India, situated at the corner of the Janpath and Maulana roads. The museum exhibits more than 200,000 artifacts and represents the visual identity of historical and cultural tales of over 5000 years.
The vision reflecting the past to outshine the future –
In 1949, before turning all the artifacts and sculptures into their museums, the initial exhibition to uplift the concept of the National Museum was set up in Rashtrapati Bhavan. After its immense success, the authorities announced the premises of the present-era President’s residence as a view gallery for the National Museum for almost six years. The museum entertains people of every age with the essence of connection to learn, explore and observe the historical aspects of India. The vision of protection, preservation, and perception through numerous galleries, visual portrayals, and learning program is the conception of ancient, cultural, and artistic influence.
The design and execution | National Museum New Delhi
To serve the free-flowing exhibit spaces significant for the general public, the execution of the building took place in 1955 and was finally open to the people to explore in 1960. The well-planned infrastructure enriching the values of more than a million artworks is because of Indian Architect Ganesh Bhikaji Deolalikar.
As museums directly imply barrier-free spaces that composes of galleries with different approaches in such a way that each area is approachable and vision centric to the visitors. The national museum is a curvilinear building centered around the courtyard raised to three levels. Each level represents different aspects of cultural and historical values.
The architecture of the museum building is well defined in terms of its contemplating features. It is a concrete structure of sleek and simple horizontal and vertical lines. The central courtyard connecting the radial blocks is an appropriate way to define the environmental impact and to provide aesthetic appeal to the building.
The circular corridor along the courtyard directs the visitors in the right direction.
National Museum captured the history, Enhancing the presence within learning discovery.
The galleries of the museums are the storehouse of experimental learning that entertains each group of visitors with different kinds of activities, exhibits of artworks, and video graphics of cultural and historical glimpses.
The entrance and the first-level galleries
The main entrance consists of an articulated temple chariot from the times of the sun temple that resembles the deity of Lord Vishnu. The corridor hall involves services such as ticket counters and administrative facilities to regulate visitor arrivals.
The museum has arranged the artworks in terms of their origin period – like a time pyramid ranging from pre-historical to modern arts. The first level galleries on the ground floor are for pre-historical artwork, Medieval art, decorative exhibits, Buddhist artwork, and sculptures from Gupta, Maurya Shunga, and Satvahna periods. Visitors can see transcripts, coins, and paintings in the expanded exhibit spaces. Despite its minimal design, the museum provides visitors to envision rare sight of artworks in materials such as terracotta, stone, bronze, textiles, and many more.
The gallery possesses weapons, pottery, artifacts, and archeological items from the Indus valley civilization, Harappan and Mohenjodro, from 2500 BCE and 1500 BCE. The galleries are spacious and visitor friendly, and the interiors are composed in a simplified manner to outshine the hidden values of the artworks displayed.
The galleries on the ground floor are all about historical and archeological glory or envisioning preservation stories. The world-famous sculptures and monumental images from the sun temple greet the visitors from the entrance to the way to galleries.
Both sides of the corridors have carved sculptures and monument displays. The lintel from Abaneri and the Mohini from Gaday are known for their carving skills. The inner rotunda on the ground floor shows two large-sized horizontal lintels from Hampi( Karnataka ) and Warangal (Telangana) representing Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh and one more than life-size image of Bodhisattva from Mathura (Uttar Pradesh).
To represent the three phases of Buddhist culture – Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, the first thematic gallery for visitors to understand the cultural values opened in 1990. Every sculpture, artifact, and painting presents a particular story of Buddhist culture. The silk paintings and stucco heads in the gallery remind us of the spread of Buddhism in Central Asia. The bronze images of Maitreya, Avalokitesvara, stucco heads from South Asia, and a life-size Buddha head from Java are impressive. Paintings in the Buddhist style depict Tibet and Nepal. A modern Buddha image in wood with gold wash from Burma and various ritual items like the wheel and ambrosia displays attract the visitors.
The coin collection is remarkable for the variety, rarity, and antiquity of Indian coins from the 6th Cen. BCE. to the end of the 19th century CE. The collection comprises 1,18,000 coins of gold, silver, copper, and alloys–billion, point, and lead. These coins are Treasure troves, hoards, gifts, and through purchases.
Second-level galleries and educational facilities | National Museum New Delhi
There are terracotta, stone, and wooden carved sculptures on the ground floor of the building. The first floor provides a learning and experimental program for visitors.
The galleries are in a way that gives more space for circulation. The exhibits are either in the center of the structure or along the structural walls. The first floor comprises institutions and galleries for paintings, manuscripts, arms, and armor.
The third level of the museum
The second floor mainly shows glimpses of India’s rich wood carving tradition from the 17th to 19th century. The museum also has a collection of musical instruments, maritime relics, snippets of tribal lifestyle, textiles, and western arts.
Conclusion | National Museum New Delhi
The National Museum is the life experience of numerous emotional, ethical, and literal moments of the history and culture of India. The Museum is discharging three primary functions – the cultivation of awareness, dissemination of information, and bringing a desirable change in society through its manifold and invaluable collection and preservation of artifacts. It is also imparting training in museum methods, restoration, and conservancy of the immense artistic equity of not particularly India but further of several diverse countries to several Museums/ Institutions.
External References –
National Museum Delhi (no date) Museums – The World Museums Network. Available at: http://museu.ms/museum/details/15954/national-museum-delhi (Accessed: February 28, 2023).
Photo Gallery (no date) National Museum, New Delhi. Available at: http://www.nationalmuseumindia.gov.in/en/photo-gallery (Accessed: February 28, 2023).
National Museum, New Delhi (2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum,_New_Delhi (Accessed: February 28, 2023).