Particulars of Organization, Functions & Duties
[Section-4 (1) (b) (i)]
Odisha State Museum is an institute of inestimable international efflorescence. It is situated amidst the kaleidoscopic garden ambience at the junction of ancient temple city and the new capital metropolis of Bhubaneswar spreading on the lap of a mediaeval fortification near Kalpana Square. Being the repository of the Cultural Heritage of the State, it epitomizes the excellent Odishan Civilization through ages.
Its magnificent majestic manifestation is marvellous like that of its humble germination. As the prolific product of the global trend of museum movement of modern period, it was the brain child of a host of historians and connoisseurs like Jone Beams, Dr. Duke, Dr. Horrel, Sir William Jones, Prof. Ghanashyam Das, Prof. N. C. Benerjee, Dr. H. K. Mahatab, Kederanath Mohapatra, Dr. N. K. Sahoo, Dr. K. C. Panigrahi and Padmashree P. Acharya. Jone Beams was known to have established the first museum in British Odisha near Taladanda Canal adjacent to Ravenshaw College during Seventies of 19th Century when he was the Collector-cum-Commissioner of Cuttack. Subsequently, it was shifted to Patna, the then capital of Bihar and Odisha Province. The intellectual mass of Odisha reacted to the shifting of antiquities of Odisha to Patna Museum. They opined that establishment of a museum in Odisha is a must. The Ravenshaw College was found to be the most ideal institution for nurturing a maiden Museum in Odisha. The Principals of the College Dr. Duke & Dr. Horrel took initiative to establish the museum in the Kanika Library hall of the College. Under the provision of Treasure Trove Act a number of ancient coins were collected along with stone sculptures and manuscripts. Later on, it was shifted to Mohammedan Hostel when the museum collections proliferated.
In 1932 this organisation originated .in the premises of Ravenshaw College, Cuttack. By Government notification, it was renamed State Museum and was shifted to Brahmananda building in old Bhubaneswar in 1945-46. From there, it came to Patel hall in 1950 and then to the building near High School of Unit-I.
In December 27th, 1957 Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India laid the foundation of the present Museum building under the leadership of Dr. H. K. Mahatab. In 1960, the great Institution was finally shifted to the present building. Initially it was part of education department. In 1958 it was handed over to the Cultural Affairs Department.
Under the able stewardship of a host of Historians and galaxy of scholar-Musiologists like B. V. Nath, K. N. Mahapatra, Dr. Arjun Joshi, Dr. H. C. Das, Dr. M. P. Dash and Dr. P.K.Ray, this Museum proliferated at an astonishing tempo with collection galore spread over
Important publications filled the gaps of Odishan History and Culture. Research activities knew no bound. Scholars from far and wide came and the museum reached its pinnacle of prominence and celebrated its Golden jubilee in 1984 with Smt. Indira Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India as the Chief Guest The occasion was marked with a Golden Jubilee publication of Odisha Historical Research Journal and another profound book on "Veer Surendra Sai" the indomitable freedom fighter of India. The Museum has earned its name and fame as a premier international institution of rich collection of various and varied rare antiquities ranging in date from prehistoric time to modern period.
The colossal museum building premises spreads over 15 acres of area with builtin area of 74255sqft. and sprawling garden area of 171600 sqft.. It houses more than 56,000 rare antiquities ranging in date from early time to modern period. The collections spread over ten sections namely -1.Archaeology, 2.Epigraphy, 3.Numismatics, 4.Armoury, 5.Mining & Geology, 6.Natural History, 7.Art & Craft, a. Contemporary Art, 9.Anthropology and 10.Palmleaf Manuscripts. In addition to this, there is a reserve collection of important antiquities for use of research scholars.
During 2008, Odisha State Museum has celebrated its Platinum Jubilee. During the last Seventy five years, State Museum has marched ahead adding new dimensions to its various activities. The entrance to the State Museum has been beautified with a streamlet, a cascade fountain, beautiful garden, installment of two massive Gaja-Simha motifs along with protective umbrellas over the bell capital of Asoka and the anglo Indian statues. A parking area along with a sculpture garden first of Its kind in the world has been developed. Two mediaeval ancient stepped wells of Ganga Period have been renovated and presented to the torust and visitors. A unique children park along with a natural history park have been created in the sprawling garden area of museum complex.
At the entrance to the museum, two life size dancing welcome statues in Odissi dance posture have been installed. The reception hall and the entrance hall to the museum together with the Lion diorama have been modernized employing new exhibition technique. The Natural History Gallery has been renovated and modernized with international standard of presentation of stuffed birds and animals. On the eve of visit of Her Highness the Princes of Thailand, all the galleries of State Museum have been modernized. The golden jubilee block which was in deplorable condition has been renovated and modernized and the construction work of the 1st floor and 2nd floor has been started to house the new Utkala Gallery of Modern Art and Freedom Fighters Gallery. A central air conditioned reading room has been made in the library of State Museum to facilitate research work of the scholars. The collection of library books has been increased and now State Museum boasts of more than sixty five thousand rare collection of books on indology, archaeoalogy, history, anthropology and culture.