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 16 museums and 2 Art Galleries under the Department of Archaeology and Museums.

List of Museums 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
  17. Government Museums, Yelandur
  18. Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore
  • The establishment of Museums in each District of the state is a firm aim with the Department. There are sixteen museums and two art gallery which are working on the expected lines of an institution to educate the public.

International museum:

  • The Department is keen to establish a International museum in memory of Sveteslove Roerich and Devikarani Roerich at Thathaguni estate near Bengaluru in a spacious land around 25.00 acres.

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