Dhaka Museum and Nimtali Gate

Dhaka Museum and Nimtali Gate

Dhaka Museum [no longer the museum is there; it has moved to its new site in the Shahbagh area, and now forms the nucleus of the Bangladesh National Museum] is situated on the northern side of the Secretariat Road, roughly equidistant from Gulistan [now the cinema hail of this name does not exist, but the area occupied by it still bears the name] and Dhaka Medical College. It occupies the site of the former Nimtali Kothi, the description of which has been given earlier in the words of Bishop Heber. The museum proper is housed in the easternmost building, which was originally a baradari. In 1961 two wings were added to the original building. The central building, enclosed within a compound wall, is the quarter of the curator of the museum. The western, double-storeyed building (Nimtali Gate), accommodates the Office of the [then I Asiatic Society of Pakistan.

The Museum remains open on all days, except Friday and gazetted holidays, between 10 A. M. and 4 P. M. Special arrangement is made for show and lectures to a group of students on previous intimation to the curator. Entrance is free. The proposal to start a Museum at Dhaka was first mooted in the autumn of 1909, when preliminary discussions took place, it was formally inaugurated on 7th August, 1913, by His Excellency Lord Carmichael, the then Governor of Bengal. Originally a room in the secretariat, present Dhaka Medical College, was allotted for the display of museum collections. The present buildings were made available in 1920. The first curator was Dr. N. K Bhattasali, who served, and built up the Museum for thirty-one years till his death in February, 1946. The present honorary curator is Dr. Ahmad Hasan Dani [the author of the book].

The Museum mainly displays specimens of handicrafts, textiles, calligraphy, paintings, art and archaeology, representing various cultures of East Pakistan. The first hall is a Buddhist gallery where Buddhist materials in stone, bronze, wood and terracotta are displayed; the next is a Hindu gallery where specimens of Vishnu, Siva and Sun god are kept. In the showcases here can also be seen bronze, silver and other metal objects. The third hail is the Muslim gallery showing textile fabrics, illuminated manuscripts, coins and china-ware. The fourth will have arms and armoury from the Baldha Museum. The fifth is a painting gallery. The remaining sculptures are shown in the verandah. The museum also has a good library.

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