Situated on Budha marg in the ancient city of Patna, Patna Museum is one of the most important museums in India. It is famous all over world for its rare and priceless collections.
The Patna Museum was established in the year 1917 by sir Edward Gait, the then lieutenant governor of Bihar and Orissa. In the early days it was housed in one of the wings of the Patna High court. With increase in collection, the wing of Patna High court proved to be very much inadequate for the display of exhibits and so the entire collection was moved to the new building which was built in the indo-sarcenic style. It is one of the finest architecture examples in India.
The Patna museum, during the period of ninty nine years of its existence has collected more than fifty thousand objects and thus occupies a very prominent position as a repository of ancient Indian culture and tradition. It is a multipurpose museum and so the collections are varied in nature. There are several sections-such as Archaeology, Ethnology, Natural history, Coins, old arms and trophies, art and miscellaneous. Thangka paintings and rare manuscripts of Tibet brought by great scholar and wanderer Rahul sankritayan is also a very prized possession of the museum.
The archaeology section contains varied antiquities such as pre-historic objects, stone sculptures, bronzes, terracotta, seals and sealing and beads etc. The pre historic objects contain pal eoliths, microliths and neoliths from different parts of Bihar and other places including foreign countries.
The museum preserves few of the important finds of harappan civilization which included the terracotta figurines, potteries, copper and bronze objects, seals and sealing of different size. The museum posses the rare collection of bronze images in India. These bronzes were discovered from chausa (Buxar), Kurkihar (Gaya) Nalanda, Belwa, Aluara (Dhanbad), Sonepur (Orissa), Negapattam (Tangore) etc. A large number of bronzes were discovered from Nalanda. These depict. the deities of all the three religion i.e. Buddhism, Jainism and Brahmanism prevalent at that time in India. The figures are dated from post-gupta to pale period.
Museum has a good collection of terracotta, seals and sealing from vaishali, Nalanda and Dharawat. Various sealing have inscriptions, which are important for the study of the economic, political and religions condition of that period.
In the art section in consists of painting on paper of different schools such as the mughal school, Pahari School, Rajput School, Gujrat School and Patna School of Painting. They range in date from the beginning of the 13th century. to the end of the 19th century.
The museum has got a very rich collection of coins, silver and copper punch marked and cast coins are in good number. Indo-greek, Indo-parthian coins are also preserved in this museum.
Numerous tourists and research scholars visit this museum to see the extremely rare and valuable antiquates and art objects from all over the world.