Every museum holds one particular treasure that is more precious than the rest.
We feature five museums in India that have some unique artefacts. If ever you are in any of these places, make sure you drop in at these museums and see it for yourself.
How to enjoy a museum
- Look for a child-friendly museum: Make sure there are interactive exhibits and activities. Look out for fun displays that can spark off your interest and also watch some of the audio-video interactive videos. You could catch something you like.
- Explore online: Research the museum before you visit so you know what to look out for.
- Talk to your friends: Ask around. Trivia and any information that can be shared by them will get you more interested. Ask them about the exciting parts. You could also visit your library and read reviews by other people about the museum.
- Be the quizmaster: No one can stop you from asking questions. Make a list of questions before your visit. In fact the best would be to take a virtual tour.
- Take a camera: By paying a nominal fee you can carry a camera into the museum. The pictures will come in handy when you want to recollect. Keep a journal too.
Reason to visit
Find out why you must visit a museum.
National Dolls Museum, Delhi
A little less than 50 years, the dolls museum in Delhi was built in 1965.
It all started when Shankar, late political/editorial cartoonist received his first doll in the early 1950s, from the Hungarian ambassador. It was a Magyar doll, dressed in a colourful, traditionally embroidered costume. Though given as a prize for a drawing and painting competition, Shankar loved the doll and could not bear to part with it. Today, the doll has pride of place in the Shankar Doll Museum in Delhi. She sits resplendent, her costume intact, though old. It was the late prime minister Indira Gandhi who suggested that Shankar should start a permanent museum. The number of dolls grew as state representatives would come and visit the museum, and gift dolls to increase their country representation. The dolls are all antiques.
Address: 4, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Nehru House, New Delhi
Visiting hours: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Input from Swati Daftuar
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai
Once known as the Prince of Wales Museum, one of the main attractions is the armour of Akbar — steel with damascened gold, made in 1581 AD. The cuirass was a common armour during the Mughal period and it consists of two pieces, a breastplate and a back plate. The present breast plate is forged in one piece and was probably moulded to the shape of Akbar’s torso. The quality of the steel, the high water mark and the distinct damascened work indicate that the armour was manufactured with great care. The inscription mentions that it is the only known personal armour of the emperor whose choice of ‘khass’ or personal arsenal is mentioned in his chronicle.
Address: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, 159-161 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai
Timings: 10:15 am to 6:00 pm
Regional Rail Museum, Chennai
Just over 12 years old, the museum is maintained by the Integral Coach Factory. From models of vintage coaches to early signalling equipment you are sure to enjoy your visit. Take the joy ride on the toy train to complete your experience. The star attraction however is the Running Model of a three tier mini train with an automatic signal system. One gets to know all about train’s signals, track crossings and how the rail tracks work. This running scale model also displays the MRTS, suburban and long-distance rail network in Chennai.
Address: ICF Furnishing Rd, Lakshmipuram, Anna Nagar West, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600038
Timings: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Mehrangarh Fort Museum, Jodhpur
A beautifully laid out museum, it has a palanquin section where you can see a wide collection of old royal palanquins. There are 42 palanquins, of which eight are on display. Palanquins were the popular means of travel for royal ladies up to the second quarter of the 20th century. They were also used by the men folk on special occasions. You must not miss seeing the elaborate domed gilt Mahadol palanquin, won in a battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730. The grand palanquin from the mid 18th century is an exquisite piece of art and of great historic significance. The Mahadol is executed in the rich Gujarati tradition of carved and painted woodwork. The eves of the canopy are of beaten, cast and cut ironwork. The glass panes in wooden casements decorate the walls of the palanquin.
Timings: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tea Museum, Munnar
The Tea Museum in Munnar, was established by Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company Private Limited in 2004. A decade later, they had registered 13.5 lakh footfalls. When you visit you will get to see the tea-making process and tasting some of the teas available. But don’t miss out on seeing the Burian Urn. It is an iron-age burial urn from the second century BC. In the olden days, the urn was used to bury the dead by placing the body inside before it was buried. During cultivation at Periakanal Estate, this urn was unearthed. M.R.P. Lappin, a manager of the estate arranged to place this urn at the High Range Club as an artefact of interest. When the Tea Museum was opened, this was brought in.
Address: Nullatanni, Munnar, Kerala
Timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm