History Of Indian Museum


Six years later a definite effort was made to give effect to the intention to establish a museum when, Dr Nathanial Wallich, a Danish botanist, who had been taken prisoner at the siege of Serampur, Hooghly, but was released by the Government in recognition of his scientific attainments, wrote a letter to the society in which he strongly advocated the formation of a Museum and offered a proposal to the society not only to act as honorary curator of the proposed Museum but also to supply duplicates from his own valuable collections.


The proposal found ready acceptance with the members of the society and it was determined to establish Society Museum at the premises of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.


Thus a museum, under the guidance of Dr Nathanial Wallich was established on 2 February 1814 at the Asiatic Society. He was appointed as Honorary Curator of the Oriental Museum of the Asiatic Society.


Interesting and curious objects were collected from various parts of the country. A list of gifts consisted of 174 items were donated by 27 European donors in the year 1816. The individual collectors were Col. Stewart, Dr Tytler, General Mackenjzie, Mr Bryan Hodgson, Capt. Gillon.


Indian contributors started gifting objects to the Museum. Out of 49 donors of the list six donors were Baboo Ram Comul Sen, Kali Kissen Bahadoor, Moharaja Radhacant Deb, Mathuranath Mullick, Sivachandra Doss, and her Highness Begam Sambroo.


In 1837, James Prinsep, Secretary of the Society wrote to the Government to adopt proposition of the Society for the formation of a National Museum at the cost of the State.


Dr Helfer and other scientific officers decided to found a museum of economic geology in Calcutta; this museum was actually opened in 1840. The museum of economic geology thus constituted continued to occupy the premises of the Society till 1856 when the portion of the collection owned by the Government of India was removed and housed at no. 1 Hasting Street in connection with the Geological Survey of India.