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Townsville, Queensland, Australia
September 16, 2005
The present Bangladesh National Museum is the successor to the Dhaka Museum which was established by the British Governor of Bengal in 1913. The museum moved to its present premises in 1983. From the outside the four-storey building is quite impressive and inside, the 46 galleries have quite extensive collections although the displays are somewhat dated.
The museum is one of the largest in south Asia and it is said to own 83 thousand pieces. The Buddhist and Brahminical stone sculptures, architectural pieces, Arabic and Persian inscriptions and pieces of calligraphy are the most significant objects from the point of view of artistic value and iconographic importance. The coin cabinet is especially rich for the study of history and numismatics of medieval Eastern India.
If you are not a museum freak you can easily miss the top floor where there are reproductions of Western paintings and some historical figures. It is best to concentrate on the lacquer painted wooden manuscript covers, the late Mughal miniatures and the water color drawings of processions in Old Dhaka. A highlight is the collection of paintings and charcoal drawings by Shilpachariya Zainul Abedin of the 1943 Great Bengal Famine.
Besides these, the medieval weapons, porcelain, filigree work, embroided quilts, pieces of ivory, and superb wooded furniture are worth seeing. There are various dioramas, which have seen better days, and collections of flora and fauna, rocks and minerals and tribal and folk art. The galleries of the liberation war and the language movement give a modern historic perspective which may help you better understand present day Bangladesh.
Opening hours are Saturday to Wednesday 10:30am–4:30pm. From October to March, it also opens on Friday from 3:30pm to 7:30pm.
From journal Dhaka City Sights
by Tammy Ann
July 8, 2001
Some of the exhibits at the museum included:
* Flora and fauna
* Archeological items such as tablets, pillars, doorways, etc.
* Furniture, fabrics, clothes and armor from the various ruling dynasties including the Moghuls
Perhaps most moving is the exhibit on the War for Independence, which included pictures, artillery, documents, and even a torture-chamber.
While some of the exhibits were a bit dusty and some of the items have seen better days, visiting the National Museum will provide you with a glimpse into the history of Bangladesh and the pride upon which the country was built.
From journal Getting to Know Dhaka