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Government of Karnataka

Government of Karnataka
Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage

     
MUSEUMS IN KARNATAKA
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Before 1956, the erstwhile State of Mysore could boast of only a couple of Museums in the State. The reorganisation of States and the unification of Karnataka in 1956 added the Museum of Art and Archaeology of the Kannada Research Institute, Dharwar. Since then, a large number of museums, both Governmental and private, have come into existence. Today Karnataka can be proud of as many as 28 museums. The concept of museum has changed from that of a storehouse of curios to that of an institution, dedicated to educate the public. The State is today conscious that a museum can make the public to realize visually what cannot be done otherwise. Therefore, the State is aiming at the establishment of museums in every district besides helping the existing museums, enrich and develop. For, such Museums are not only essential to save and store our art treasures and heritage, but bring rich art closer to people, to see and appreciate. In the following paragraphs an attempt is made to give an account of Museums in Karnataka, the nature of their collections and the service they are rendering to the community. Now to deal with the statistical part of the distribution of the museums, it
may be stated that under the direction of the Department of Archaeology and Museums, there are 9 institutions, which have been classified as Museums. They include an art gallery. Under the Archaeological Survey of India, there are 4 museums and 3 sculpture sheds. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has 3 organizations, the chief of which is the Visveshwariah Industrial and Technological Museum with its headquarters in Bangalore. It is a matter of great pride to find that there are 3 University Museums and as many as 5 private museums.

Museums under the Government of Karnataka

Before 1960, the then existing museums were under the Department of Industries and Commerce. In 1960, the Government decided that these museums should be under the direction of the Director of Archaeology and Museums in the State. Therefore, the administration of the Museums were transferred from the Department of Industries and Commerce to the Department of Archaeology and Museums. As already stated there are at the moment 9 museums under the Department of Archaeology and Museums.
Government Museum, Bangalore The Government Museum at Bangalore started functioning in a rented building during the year 1865 with the specimens donated by public. A separate building in the Cubbon Park was constructed by the Government on the lines
adopted in the Western Countries. The new building was occupied in 1879 and the museum commenced functioning in the new building from 1880. Some of the specimens such as coins, sculptures, inscriptions, etc., excavated by the Department of Archaeology were given to the Museum and they are displayed. The museum at Bangalore is a multipurpose museum. Separate galleries for natural history, art, architecture, ethnology, etc., are provided.

With the small grant allotted by the Government, specimens on natural history, art and ethnology were acquired and added to the museum. In addition, some philanthropists have also donated rare specimens out of their collections to the museum. Since 1935, the collections of specimens by purchase, gift and “exchange were increasing. It was found” at the building was insufficient to present
all the specimens on modern methods. The show cases, display stands and pedestals previously acquired had become obsolete and new ones had to be purchased. After Independence, the importance of museums in the country was keenly felt. During the 2nd and 3rd Five Year Plans, Government of India sanctioned financial assistance to the Government Museum, Bangalore for the construction of Museum Annexe, purchase of museum equipment and publication of picture post cards. The Central Advisory Board for Museums resolved for the establishment of regional museums in the country. In accordance with the decisions of the Central Advisory Board of Museums, the question of establishment of regional museums in the State of Mysore was taken up for serious consideration. Since then, the following regional museums have been established in the State.

Sreemanthi Bai Memorial Government Museum, Mangalore
The SreemanthiBai Memorial Museum is one of the prime tourist attractions of the city of Mangalore. Situated on a prominent hillock, in the Kadri hills, it commands a magnificent view of Arabian Sea; the Western Ghats and one can easily identify that!amiliar land mark, the” Kuduremukha” from the terrace of the building. The building itself is a beautiful structure constructed in the shape of a ship with Italian mosaic flooring. It consists of a ground floor, the first floor and an open terrace with a room on the top and an underground strong room for storing valuables. It is located in the centre of an attractively laid garden. The present Sreemanthi Bai Memorial Bhavan in which the Museum is housed, was gifted in 1957, to Govermhent of Mysore by Late Col. V. R. Mirajkar, one of the foremost surgeons in the country for the purpose of organising a museum to perpetuate the memory of his beloved mother Sreemanthi Bai. While gifting the Building and the land on which it is situated the donor has also gifted a large collection of valuable objects of art which formed nucleus for starting a museum. The museum was declared open to the public on ‘May 4th 1960 by Sri B.D.Jatti, the then chief Minister of Mysore. The building as already mentioned, consists of a ground floor, first floor and a terrace with a room.

The art objects in the collection of the Museum can be broadly classified into 4 groups:
1. Art
2. Archaeology
3. Ethnological an
4. Natural History Specimens.
The ground floor of the building is mainly donated for the presentation of art, archaeological and ethnological specimens. The first floor houses the specimens of natural history. Within 10 years of establishment the museum has made very good progress and has become very popular, particularly among students. The public of Mangalore have been responding enthusiastically to the many sided programmes and special exhibitions conducted by the Government Museum. Special exhibitions form part of activities, among which mention may be made of the following with the said themes :
1. “Crib to Cross” on Christmas day
2. “Children Painting”
3. “Festival of lamps” arranged on the festival of Deepavali.
4. “Exhibition of coins”
5. “Rare silver ware”
6. “Artists of South Kanara”
7. “Life of Mahatma Gandhi” from Photographs.
8. One man show by local artist Sri P.N. Punchithaya.
Besides organising such special I exhibitions, the museum avails every opportunity to participate with the public r actively in any special exhibition organised by the other educational institutions in the region. We will be failing in our duty if we do not, remember the help and service rendered by Sri C. J. Padmanabha, I.A.S., who helped in no small measure to enrich collections of this Museum.
District Museum, Shimoga There was a great demand for a museum in the district headquarters of Shimoga. Thanks to the help and enthusiasm of many local people and particularly of Sri H L. Nagegowda, I.A.S., a Museum was started in the present Library building
in the town of Shimoga. It is still housed in the Library building. It is the desire of the Government to have a building of t its own commensurate with the needs of the city and the needs of the collection. Collections of this museum consist mostly of Art
and Archaeology. A large number of sculptures have been collected and presented in the museum. As we know, the district of Shimoga and the adjacent district of North Kanara are very rich being the centre of the early Kadamba Dynasty. This art is full of beautiful specimens of sculptures and it is our endeavour to enrich the Museum and give an opportunity to the public, to the students of this area to see and enjoy the early art of Karnataka.

Government Museum, Gulbarga
The twin domed -structures on the Sedam road, Gulbarga, were renovated for housing the regional Museum. The Museum is now one of the important institutions, in the area, because it has one of the most valuable collections of early art of Kamataka. The site of Sannati in Chittapur taluka was discovered in 1965 and from surface explorations at this site a very rich collection of antiquities has been made including terracotta figurines, coins, stone sculptures and inscriptions. All these antiquities definitely prove the existence of Buddhism in this part of Kamataka. In the site itself there are monumental evidences such as the remains of Buddhist Stupas. These antiquities, on comparative evidence can be dated from 1st century B.C., to 1st Century A.D. Therefore, the regional museum at Gulbarga is of great importance. Besides these valuable antiquities, the Museum also has a collection of coins, pre-historic tools etc.

Government Museum, Basavakalyan
Basavakalyan is a very important town in the region. It was the capital of the Chalukyas and was known in the 10th-12th Centuries A.D. as Kalyani. The town has an old fort and within the fort a museum has been started and the museum consists of specimens, such as inscriptions, sculptures etc, and almost all the specimens come from the region itself. It serves the purpose of a site museum.

District Museum, Madikeri
This museum was started in 1971. The museum at the moment is housed in an old Church. It has collections of antiquities made in the surrounding area. The most important antiquities in this museum include a large number of sculptures, mainly of the Tirthankaras, a number of coins and documents belonging to the Coorg Rajas. This Museum deserves to be developed further.

Local Antiquities Museum, Chitradurga
Thanks to the personal effort and love for the local antiquities of one Sri Hullur Srinivasa Jois, a small museum was started. Initially it consisted only of antiquities from the famous site of Chandra valli which was excavated by the Department of Archaeology and Museums in 1947. But later on, it increased its collection from the area around. The tradition was continued by the son of Sri Hullur Srinivasa Jois, who was an Honorary Curator, when the museum came under the administration of the Department of Archaeology and Museums at a later date. The Museum is located in the. 2 rooms at the gate locally called “Rangayyana Bagilu”. The antiquities presented are mainly of local importance and are collected from Chandravalli, Brahmagiri and Chitradurga itself. Many of the antiquities belong to the famous Nayaks of Chitradurga. Recently, with a view to develop this museum,
a new room has been constructed above the Rangayyana Bagilu and it is hoped before long a new site will be available for the construction of a suitable building for museum at Chitradurga.

Kittur Rani Channamma Memorial Museum, Kithur
Kittur is a famous principality and its queen Channamma Rani very bravely fought the English. Thanks to the unstinted interest of the then Minister for Education Sri S.R. Kanthi, a museum to commemorate the famous queen of this small principality of Karnataka came into existence in 1967. This museum is also of regional importance. The museum fortunately has a buIldmg of Its own situated within the ancient fort of Kittur, a few yards away from the remains of the Palace of Kittur. The museum has specimens of armoury, coins, sculptures and inscriptions. The Kittur Rani Channamma Memorial Committee has donated a land in the adjoining area within the fort itself for the construction of a building for this museum.

Sri K. Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore
The State Government was very seriously considering the establishment of an Art Gallery in the State capital. This cherished desire fructified itself when Sri Ramaraju, the nephew of late Sri K. Venkatappa an artist of international repute, came forward to present to the Government of Mysore, the art works of Sri K. Venkatappa. In 1966, Government of Mysore decided that an art gallery with the collection of the famous paintings, bas-reliefs in plaster of Paris and Musical instruments- all creations of Sri K. Venkatappa, as the nucleus. The result is now people can see a beautiful piece of modern architecture, executed by the State Public Works Department, adjacent to the Government Museum, Bangalore. This building is named after artist himself and is situated in an idyllic spot in an artificially created Island. One of the interesting features of this art gallery is that the entire gallery is air-conditioned. The building is planned to have 5 floors in course of time. Now, only the ground floor and the first floor have been completed (Pl. XXV a).
Besides the permanent exhibitions, all the above Government museums organise periodic exhibitions. Regular film shows and guided tours form the main educational activities. Frequent requests from schools and colleges from rural areas, and other cultural organisations, to arrange special exhibitions are also promptly complied. In short the State Museums are trying to serve the community in the process of social change.
List of Museums comes under this Department

  1. Government Museum, Shivappanayaka Palace,
  2. Government Museum Bangalore
  3. Government Museum, Hassan
  4. Government Museum Madikeri
  5. Government Museum Gulbarga
  6. Government Museum Huvinahadagali,
  7. Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore
  8. Government Museum, Gadag
  9. Government Museum, Chitradurga -
  10. Srimantibai Memorial Government Museum, Mangalore
  11. Government Museum Raichur
  12. Wellington Government Museum Mysore
  13. Kittur Rani Chennama Memorial Government Museum Kitture
  14. Sri Chamarajendra memorial Government Museum, Srirangapatna
  15. Government Museum, Athani
  16. Government Museums, Basavkalyan
 
 
 
 
This is the Official Website of Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, Government of Karnataka, under the Ministry of Culture that is responsible for archaeological studies and the preservation of cultural monuments. The function is to "explore, excavate, conserve, preserve and protect the monuments and sites of State, National & International Importance.
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