Liberation War Museum
After the partition of Bengal on 16 October 1905, the historic city of Dhaka became the capital of the new Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. The proposal to start a museum in Dhaka was first mooted in the autumn of 1905 in connection with the transfer of the Shillong Coin Cabinet to Dhaka. The partition of Bengal was revoked on 1 April 1912. Because of the absence of a public museum in Eastern Bengal many antiquities that turned up on casual excavation in the Dhaka and Chittagong Divisions, were removed to the Indian Museum in Kolkata. This position was unacceptable to the elites of Dhaka. They met Lord Thomas David Baron Carmichael, the Governor of the Presidency of Bengal, Their address of welcome to the Governor emphasized the immediate necessity of the establishment of a university, a museum and a public library in Dhaka. The setting up of Dhaka Museum was formally approved by the Governor in Council in the official Gazette of 5 March 1913. Dhaka Museum was formally inaugurated by Lord Carmichael at a second, largely-attended conversazione held in the Secretariat on Thursday, 7 August 1913. The Museum had a rapid growth. In consequence of the growing number of exhibits, two additional rooms were allotted after 24 June 1914. Mr. Nalini Kanta Bhattasali was appointed Curator by the Executive Committee. Dhaka Museum was first opened to the public on 25 August 1914. On that day the Museum had 379 objects on display. Nalini Kanta Bhattasali, the first Curator of the Museum, worked hard to develop the Museum and succeeded in collecting many antiquities. He made the best use of the objects accumulated to publish a number of scholarly books and thus enhanced the prestige of the Museum. On 12 August 1947 Dhaka University took over Dhaka Museum from the Provincial Government. As a result, the 9-member Dhaka Museum Committee was replaced by a 16-member Dhaka Museum Committee. After the death of Nalini Kanta Bhattasali, Dhaka Museum again got a full-time salaried Curator on 18 June 1965. He was Mr. Enamul Haque. On 22 April 1970 the Dhaka Museum (Board of Trustees) Ordinance came into force. As a result, Dhaka Museum became a statutory body, its administrative authority being no more Dhaka University but the Government of East Pakistan. After the emergence of Bangladesh the new-born nation state considered it to be a prime necessity to upgrade the museum. For Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the proposed National Museum was extremely important. He wanted his countrymen to know “the true history of the struggle of the Bengalis,” as he told them “the time has come when our younger generation should know the actual history of the past sacrifices and resistance movements.” He began referring to Dhaka Museum as the National Museum. Bangladesh National Museum was formally inaugurated at Shahbag on 17 November 1983. Dr. Enamul Haque became the first Director General of Bangladesh National Museum.
Bangladesh National Museum is now housed in a four-storied building with a total floor space of 202,116 square feet. From a humble beginning in a single room in 1913 the Museum has now grown into one of the largest museums in South Asia. It is devoted to archaeology, classical, decorative and contemporary art, history, natural history, ethnography and world civilization. Bangladesh National Museum has splendid collections which range in date from prehistory to the present time. Both in number and uniqueness, the Museum is extremely rich in stone, metal and wooden sculptures, in gold, silver and copper coins, in stone inscriptions and copperplates and in terracotta and other artifacts of archaeological interest.
The museum remains opened throughout the week. The time schedule and the visiting hours for national museum is from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. At Friday the time schedule is from 3 pm to 8 pm. The national museum off day is Thursday. Tickets are available at the spot for entering.
The museum has a vast and elaborate collection of old coins, books on art, ivory and silver filigree works, images made with metal, many textiles including the famed Muslin fabric and Nakshi Kantha, arms and ammunitions from the Mughal time, series of painting and sculptures dating back to the Buddhist and Muslim period, handicrafts and models of the village and city life and most importantly- priceless articles of the liberation war of Bangladesh which signifies the backbone of the history of Bangladesh can be found there.
The ground floor consists of some old guns at the entrance and the hall where the people book their tickets or assemble to hear the history of the museum. The hall leads to a grand staircase. Beside the hall, there is a smaller room which also acts like the hall (it is also used by the guides to tell the visitors about the history) and a simple staircase.
The Museum has one of the largest collections of arms and armour in the Indian subcontinent. Quite fascinating are its collections of decorative art, especially of woodwork, metalwork and embroidered quilts. It has items of natural history and ethnographic interest. The Museum is noted for its collection of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin and works of other contemporary artists. The Museum also illustrates the freedom struggle culminating in the liberation of Bangladesh.
The museum has become one of the signs of our pride for the nation. You can find details from the museum’s official website-