Historic Patna museum shuts door for renovation, for 3 months

Oldest museum in Bihar, Patna Museum’s building was opened for public in 1928 and many prized collections including Thanka paintings and centuries old manuscripts brought from Tibet

Patna Museum

Patna: The doors of historic Patna Museum has been shut for the visitors. It will remain so for the next three months, as the heritage building, inaugurated in 1928 by then governor of Bihar and Odisha Sir Hugh Lansdowne Stephenson, is scheduled to undergo conservation and renovation.

“The structure needed conservation while the modification of the display of objects too was being realised. As the galleries are being revamped, it has been decided to stop entry of visitors to Patna Museum from June 1 this year,” Deepak Anand, director, museum directorate, culture department, said.

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The oldest museum of Bihar, Patna Museum once boasted of rare relic of Lord Buddha, Yakshi, the Mauryan age sculpture of a woman, Shalbhanjika, image of a woman holding branch of a tree and the Kurkihar bronzes. Later, they were shifted to Bihar Museum.

The Patna Museum was originally conceived by the British-era officials to preserve the antiques and artifacts found scattered in several areas in and around Patna. The building was designed by Rai Bahadur Bishnu Swarup.

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Anand said that the Patna Museum still possessed many prize collections, which include Thanka paintings and manuscripts brought by Rahul Sankrityayan from Tibet in the 1930s, the rare paintings, metal art and the thousands of years old fossil. The manuscripts, which are being translated from Tibetan language to Hindi, were taken to Tibet from from ancient Nalanda and Vikramshila Universities before their destruction.

There are also the objects of personal use and gifts of Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the country, he added. “All these objects will have dedicated galleries after the renovation work,” said the Museum director.

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Besides, the extension of the old museum has also been going on since 2020 and the two structures, which have been constructed on both sides of the original building, are being developed as digital galleries. These are based on the themes, development of civilisation along the shores of the Ganga River and the glorious history of Patliputra, the capital of ancient age Magadh Kingdom.

The Patna Museum was originally started in 1915, in a makeshift mode at the then commissioner’s bungalow in Patna, which is now the AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies (ANSISS).

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But, soon the objects were shifted to the Patna high court building and in 1925 the land for present day Patna Museum was identified on Patna-Gaya road, the present day Budh Marg in the city. In 1928 it was inaugurated by the then governor Sir Hugh Lansdowne Stephenson and was opened for people as the first public museum of undivided Bihar and Orissa Provinces.

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