Resources > The National Museum, New Delhi
06 Sep 2010

The National Museum, New Delhi

On August 15, 1949, the National Museum, New Delhi, was inaugurated in the Rashtrapati Bhawan by Shri R.C. Rajagopalachari, the Governor-General of India. The Museum presently holds approximately 2,00,000 objects of a diverse nature,  both Indian as well as foreign, and its holdings cover a time span of more than five thousand years of Indian cultural heritage. At present, the National Museum is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

The vision/motto of the National Museum is:

  • To collect art objects of Historical, Cultural and Artistic significance for the purpose to display, protection, preservation and interpretation (research).

  • To disseminate knowledge about the significance of the objects in respect of history, culture and artistic excellence and achievements.

  • To serve as cultural centre for enjoyment and interaction of the people in artistic and cultural activity.

  • To serve as epitome of national identity.


Arms & Armour
Central Asian Antiquities
Decorative Arts
Numismatics & Epigraphy
Pre-Columbian & Western Arts
Pre-History & Archaeology

The National Museum keeps on setting up new Galleries and renovating the old Galleries according to the requirements. An Added attraction to this museum is the renovated three Galleries, which are: Tribal Life style of North-East India, Musical instrument and Wood carving.

Conservation Laboratory
The conservation laboratory of the National Museum has made immense efforts to become one of the most superior laboratories in the conservation and restoration of art objects. Initially, its main task was to look after the large collection of the National Museum, but now it also serves other institutions such as the Raj Bhawans and other public agencies in identification examination. It also performs actual restoration on oil paintings and art works. Besides keeping the vast and varied collection in a good state of preservation as per international standards the laboratory engages in research and capacity building programmes also.

Conservation Project
The laboratory carries out regular surveys of art objects of different departments, and gives treatment on a priority basis to the objects that need it. Materials of a delicate nature such as palm leaves, parchment, paper, miniatures, painting, textiles and oil paintings as well as harder substances such as metal and their alloys, stones, terracotta’s, ceramics and wall paintings are treated according to the internationally accepted principles of conservation. Some of the major conservation projects being currently undertaken include:

National Project of restoration of oil paintings of non- Indian origin and other works of art: The project was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in 1985. They carried out survey’s, documentation and conservation of the oil paintings and other artefacts of non – Indian origin in various Raj Bhawans and havelis. This body was later strengthened by two or more centres – one at National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property, Lucknow and another at Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta.
Conservation of Wall Paintings at Jhala Haveli, Rajasthan: The laboratory took up the job of treating the wall paintings of Jhala Haveli, Kota, Rajasthan. The work has been completed successfully and these paintings, after mounting, were displayed in the galleries of the National Museum.

The National Museum Library collects books and journals related to the fields of history, art and culture of the World for specialized research and reference. It covers a variety of themes such as anthropology, archaeology, conservation, decorative arts, history, literature, museum studies, painting, philosophy and religion. It contains over sixty thousand volumes of books, bound journals as well as several Indian and international journals and magazines.

The Library has been the proud recipient of several prestigious personal book collections such as the Elwin collection, Satyam Bhai collection, Dr. L.P. Sihare collection, Desikacharya collection and the Heeramanek collection.

Exhibition Cell
The Exhibition Cell of the National Museum, New Delhi organises exhibitions of national and International level under the aegis of Festival of India, memorandum of understanding and Cultural Exchange Program.

The Exhibition cell came into existence in 1985 in order to celebrate the Festival of India in USA and USSR. Accordingly, it has organised an exhibition entitled “Aditi” to mark this event in both the countries and this was the beginning. Till now, countless exhibitions on various themes have been organised in India and abroad. Out of these exhibitions some of them were very popular among the people from all walks of life, while some were favoured especially by the students from colleges and schools.

The Modelling section was established in 1960 for the production and sale of replicas of artefacts made in 'Plaster of Paris' (POP). Several objects have been carefully selected from the collection of artefacts representing the vast history of five thousand years of Indian art, and replicas are made manually with great skill. Due to their high artistic quality, these replicas always remain in great demand with the visitors to the museum.

Publication Department
Many of the publications published by the National Museum are comparable to the best art books published anywhere in the world. Some of them have fetched the Presidential award for their quality of production. Besides National Museum’s sale counter, these publications are also available at Publications Division Office (New Delhi) as they are the sole distributers.

The National Museum has made a conscious effort to provide the material bilingual for the benefit of visitors. Besides bringing out art publications on Indian Art and Culture, the Publication Department also rolls out the following:

Research publications

Exhibition Catalogues
National Museum Bulletins
Gallery Sheets
Picture Postcards/Reprints