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15 Museums In New Delhi That Will Change The Way You View History

New Delhi’s rich cultural history goes beyond its myriad Mughal monuments and colonial structures. Capturing the past and essence of the capital are a host of museums, from those dedicated to its past to its colourful present. An ideal outing for a winter day, we list down some of the most interesting museums the city has to offer.

1. National Museum

Image Credit: National Museum Instagram
Image Credit: National Museum Instagram

For: Seekers of the national treasure
Why: The National Museum in New Delhi is a treasure trove filled with historic and cultural artefacts. With over 2 lakh permanent pieces, their ever-evolving collection offers a rare insight into the history of India via its archaeological remains. Even on a regular day, the museum experiences a flurry of activity as tourists and locals throng to see the latest exhibitions as well as its permanent possessions. 
Must see: The current exhibition, ‘Ritual Vessels and Musical Instruments of Ancient China’ that showcases rare relics from Hubei province of China. 
For more: Website and Instagram 

2. National Rail Museum

Image Credit: ThingsToDoInDelhi on Instagram
Image Credit: ThingsToDoInDelhi on Instagram

For: Those rallying for the railways 
Why: Be prepared for buses of school kids and winter picnickers as you plan an outing to the National Rail Museum. A museum dedicated to the rail history of India, the museum boasts of an iconic octagonal-shaped building and an open area lined with actual rail tracks and vintage locomotives. Pose for a picture against the trains or explore the inside gallery that takes you through the progress of the locomotives. 
Must see: Take your little one for a joy ride on the unique  1:8 scale Toy Train that allows you to blow the whistle, toot the horn and switch on the lights as you ride through the track.
For more: Website

3. Crafts Museum

Image Credit: Crafts Museum
Image Credit: Crafts Museum

For: Those looking to get crafty  
Why: The National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum or as it’s popularly called the Crafts Museum is a hub for all kinds of Indian art and crafts. Located opposite the majestic Purana Qila and as an extension of the Pragati Maidan exhibition area, this unique museum has over 33,000 pieces of art on display. Designed to resemble a market square in a rural village, the museum captures the heart of India and gives you a glimpse into its offerings like textiles, tribal paintings, woodwork, clay figurines, sculptures etc. The inhouse restaurant - Cafe Lota offers a fusion cuisine inspired by a variety of traditional and local specialities.  
Must do: Shop for a myriad of local art, craft and handlooms. From Pashmina shawls to Chikankari suits, tribal paintings to bamboo crafts, terracotta figurines to woodwork, there is a lot on offer.  
For more: Website and Instagram

4. National Gallery of Modern Art

Image Credit: National Gallery of Modern Art
Image Credit: National Gallery of Modern Art

For: Appreciators of the abstract 
Why: One of the most striking aspects of the  National Gallery of Modern Art is the massive stainless steel tree that sits in its lawns and is clearly visible as you drive off the India Gate outer circle. The tree in question is the iconic Bodhi Tree installation by the notorious artist, Subodh Gupta who exhibited at the museum in 2014. Inside the museum houses artists like MF Hussain, Thomas Daniell, Raja Ravi Verma, Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil. The museum is said to hold over 1700 works by 2000 plus artists making it one of India’s most prime art body.  
Must do: Come January 2020, head to the NGMA to view a retrospective of photographs by famed fashion photographer, Prabuddha Dasgupta. 
For more: Website 

5. Shankar’s International Doll Museum

Image Credit: Shankar’s International Doll Museum
Image Credit: Shankar’s International Doll Museum

For: A little dossier on the lives of dolls 
Why: It’s easy to typecast Shankar’s International Doll Museum as the playground for young girls, however, after a visit one realises that the museum not only boasts of a delightful collection of dolls but is also an insight into the astute work of a hobbyist. Housed in the Children's Book Trust building on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, the museum was set up by K. Shankar Pillai, a political cartoonist. Dolls from across the world are mounted in their finest glories, many of these are gifts from international dignitaries and renowned personalities.   
Must do: The display of 150 authentic Indian costume dolls introduce you to the cultures and traditions of the country. 
For more: Website 

6. National Science Centre

Image Credit: National Science Centre on Facebook
Image Credit: National Science Centre on Facebook

For: Students of science 
Why: Located on the outskirts of Pragati Maidan exhibition grounds, the National Science Centre is an iconic institution that aims to make scientific learning and education both challenging and fun.
Must do: See one of the world’s largest exhibit, ie the ‘energy balls’, in which nylon balls six inches in diameter, are lifted to a height of fifty feet, letting them gain potential energy, and then dropped to expend their potential energy into other forms of energy. 
For more: Website 

7. Sulabh International Museum of Toilet

Image Credit: Sulabh International Museum of Toilet
Image Credit: Sulabh International Museum of Toilet

For: Those looking for a dirty joke 
Why: Come armed with toilet humour and an open eye as you head to the Sulabh International Museum of Toilet. The Museum captures the historic evolution of toilets from 2500 BC to the current date with a rare collection of facts, pictures and objects. A vibrant display of privies, chamber-pots, toilet furniture, bidets and water closets, some dating back to 1145 AD, make an interesting case for those looking to explore the flush box. 
Must do: The Museum has on display toilet pots made of gold and silver by the Roman emperors to showcase its advancement and history. 
For more: Website 

8. Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum

Image Credit: ImagesByJTJ on Instagram
Image Credit: ImagesByJTJ on Instagram

For: A lesson in dynasty politics 
Why: Located in the home of former Prime Minister of India, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum is dedicated to the Nationalist movement and her personal life. The museum captures her journey from childhood as well as the life of the Nehru-Gandhi family.  
Must do: View rare newspaper clippings that capture Indira Gandhi’s political journey.  
For more: Website 

9. National Philatelic Museum

For: Those looking to leave their stamp 
Why: The National Philatelic Museum is located in the Dak Bhawan and has an attached post office and is the perfect outlet for those looking to expand their stamp collections. The museum boasts of an extensive collection of Indian stamps, even the ones issued before Independence by the rulers of the Princely States.  
Must do: See the first stamp issued in India by the Sindh Dak (1854). 
For more: Website 

10. Nehru Memorial Museum & Library

Image Credit: Nehru Memorial Museum & Library
Image Credit: Nehru Memorial Museum & Library

For: Those looking to reach the stars 
Why: Former Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s love for children is a well-known fact, it was this affection that led to the establishment of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library with an accompanying planetarium. The museum houses memorabilia from Pandit’s time in the former PM residence and the bulk of Mahatma Gandhi's writings. 
Must do: Also known as Teen Murti Bhawan, the building boasts of beautifully manicured gardens that are a delight to visit in winters. 
For more: Website 

11. Indian War Memorial Museum

For: Those looking to pay their tribute
Why: The Indian War Memorial Museum is located in the Naubat Khana or the music house of Delhi’s Red Fort. The museum is dedicated to the military history of the country as well the participation in the first and second world wars. 
Must do: A diorama showing Babur and Ibrahim Lodi at the battle of Panipat introduce you to the armoury - arrows, swords, khuris, revolvers, machine guns, shells etc of that period.

12. Metro Museum

Image Credit: Metro Museum on Instagram
Image Credit: Metro Museum on Instagram

For: An interesting diversion during your daily commute 
Why: Delhites can widely agree that the Delhi Metro is a well-executed boon for the city, therefore, it is only appropriate we dedicate a museum to its process and functioning. The Metro Museum is a unique space dedicated to the history of the project using display panels, historical photographs and exhibits. 
Must do: Take a minute to understand and marvel the construction process of the Chawri Bazaar Metro station that is the second deepest Metro station in the world, India's first extradosed bridge.  
For more: Website

13. Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum

Image Credit: President Of India Facebook Page
Image Credit: President Of India Facebook Page

For: A grand tour of the Presidential home. 
Why: Visit the President of India’s home to understand appreciate the rich political history of the country. The Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum is located in the two basement floors of the colossal colonial building. From the British era to the formation of the constitution and to the modern political scenario, the museum houses memorabilia that makes it worthy of a tour.  
Must do: Gifts gallery, a room dedicated to the various tokens given to past Presidents by international dignitaries. 
For more: Website

14. Heritage Transport Museum

Image Credit: Heritage Transport Museum on Instagram
Image Credit: Heritage Transport Museum on Instagram

For: Car and automobile buffs 
Why: Take a long drive to the Heritage Transport Museum near Manesar to experience a creative representation of the automobile industry and some slick cars. Vintage cars, modified cars, old locomotives, early aircraft models, unique transport models and artefacts made from recycled car parts on display are sure to please gear-heads.  
Must see: The vast toy collection that showcases Indian manufactured vintage designs and a collection of vintage pedal cars and pedi-cycles.  
For more: Website 

15. Museo Camera Centre for the Photographic Arts

Image Credit: Museo Camera Centre on Instagram
Image Credit: Museo Camera Centre on Instagram

For: Those looking for something more meaningful than a selfie 
Why: India’s first centre for photographic arts, Museo Camera Centre is located in Gurgaon. Set up by visual historian and photographer, Aditya Arya, the museum houses an interesting display of photography works as well as ongoing exhibitions. See the vintage cameras from the ’70s and ’80s that are a part of Arya’s personal collection and are displayed in glass cases. 
Must do: Grab a bite at the in-house conscious cafe, Fig at Museo that serves excellent fair trade coffee with a feel-good factor.  
For more:  Website

 

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