Museums and Libraries in Delhi

Field Museum
This museum is located within the main gate of the Purana Qila complex. It is a small archaeological museum that is rich in historical artefacts. The museum contains articles that were excavated in 1955 in the southern periphery of Purana Qila and then during the 1969-1973 excavations. The chief attractions include the grey ware pottery and relics that date back to 1000 B.C. The museum also houses objects dating back to the Mauryan dynasty. Terracotta figures from the Mauryan period of 300 B.C. and coins belonging to the reign of Muhammad Tughlaq, stone figurines, seals and glazed ware and 16th century Chinese porcelain is also put on display.

Air Force Museum
The Indian Air Force Museum is located in the lush green environments of Palam, New Delhi. The IAF Museum attempts to offer an insight into the history of the Indian Air Force. It provides a complete portrait of the military aviation in India. It traces back the Indian aviators of the Royal Flying Corps who had fought during the First World War. The visitors can see real-life pictures, souvenirs, models and even actual aircrafts. The Museum has an Indoor Gallery which showcases and traces a pictorial history of the Indian Air Force. It also exhibits uniforms and personal weapons used during different decades. Other equipment like anti-aircraft guns and aircraft vehicles can be seen. There is a gallery that exhibits trophies, radar equipment and a few enemy vehicles that were captured.

International Dolls Museum
Shankar’s International Dolls Museum was set up by the eminent cartoonist K. Shankar Pillai in 1965. The Doll’s Museum is famous for having one of the largest collections of costume dolls in the world. The Museum’s collection of dolls was inspired by a gifted doll to Shankar which he had received from the Hungarian ambassador. The museum houses a collection of 6,500 exhibits from eighty-nine countries. There are also some colourful motifs that embellish the outer walls of the museum.

Nehru Memorial and Museum Library (NMML)
The Nehru Memorial and Museum Library is a unique repository of memorabilia of the first Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. It was founded by the initiative of the government of India under the Ministry of Culture as a gesture to pay tribute to the country’s first Prime Minister in the year 1964. The museum showcases personal documents of the whole Nehru family. The library has a treasure of books, photographs and periodicals dating back to the period of struggle for Indian independence. The library has ventured into publishing suggested progressive policies of Nehru which were largely unknown. NMML is located at Teen Murti Bhavan as this was the residence of Prime Minister Pt. Nehru. The library boasts of some of the rarest collections of newspapers and photographs of the Indian independence movement. Books of various languages, including Urdu, Hindi and other regional Indian languages can be found here.

National Museum
This colossal archive is at a short distance from the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The National Museum has over 200,000 works of exquisite art, both Indian and foreign. The circular-shaped building has three floors and is painted in red and yellow. The National Museum building was opened to the public in 1960. It has huge sculptures and exotic specimens of art and crafts. The museum also has lectures and training programmes, reserve collections, a library and a conservation laboratory. The sculptural section houses more than 9000 objects of archaeological importance. The museum is famous for its collection on exquisite terracotta and stucco figures. One can also see some rare items from various states and cities. The armoury section houses a collection of impassive arms and armours.

Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History was inaugurated on 5th June 1978, i.e. on the World Environment Day. This is the best resource in the country regarding the natural and, to a certain extent, historical heritage of India. It also promotes knowledge about the country’s fauna and flora. It has a motto of ‘Educating while entertaining’. The museum has been divided into theme-based galleries and activity areas. The Museum of Natural History is divided into four main galleries.

The first section is fundamental and addresses the evolution of life and an introduction to the fauna and flora of India. This gallery provides information about the natural habitat of animals and the threat to the various animals and plants. The second gallery provides a peek into various ecosystems and hazards they face. The third gallery enlightens about the endangered species of plant and animal kingdom. The museum’s theme is very much conservation-based. The last section of the gallery is labelled as ‘Cells and Tissues’. It describes the structure and functions of various plant and animal cells.

National Rail Museum
The bygone era of the colonial India and the development of the Indian Railways can be traced through a visit to the Rail Transport Museum. It offers a collection of exotic Indian railway coaches. The museum houses a blend of vintage rail coaches and the latest, modern engines. It has many of the modern trains driven around as toy trains which gives the kids a memorable ride through the museum. The outer terrain is dotted with lavish carriages that were used by the British. The Maharaja of Mysore’s carriage is also showcased. This carriage has a rosewood bed and is embellished with teak, gold and ivory. It also houses the Fairy Queen that was built in 1855 and is one of the best-preserved locomotive steam engines.

Craft Museum
This museum was established in 1956 with an aim to promote the works of native handicrafts and artisans. The Crafts Museum is located in the Pragati Maidan complex of New Delhi. The museum is famous for its collection of Indian handicrafts. It exhibits some of rarest pieces of art and craft which have been collected selectively from all over India.

Maximum articles on display belong to artisans from small Indian villages and folk art and tribal creations are also promoted in order to contribute to rural development. Objects displayed include paintings and embroidered creations. The museum also has a Crafts Museum Shop in the complex worth visiting. The museum has several specialized galleries like the Gallery of Courtly Crafts and the Gallery of Popular Culture. The complex showcases mud huts with thatched roofs.

Modern Art Gallery
It is situated at Jaipur House, New Delhi. The gallery was established in 1954. The museum is renowned for its collection of contemporary Indian art. The museum’s royal building was the former residence of the former rulers of Jaipur. It has an impressive collection of royal paintings. The displayed artworks include creations of prominent Indian artists like Rabindranath Tagore and Amrita Gill. The gallery has a section dedicated to the development of modern Indian paintings and sculptures. The gallery also includes an Art Reference Library with a huge compilation of journals and periodicals. The gallery has different departments handling different aspects of work being done at the gallery. For example, the restoration department is involved in preservation and conservation of artworks and the publication department has already listed 335 different publications and 35 posters.

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