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Saturday, 18 May 2013

International Museum Day (18th May) - Museums in Chennai

:: International Museum Day - 18th May ::

:: Museums in Chennai ::

What is International Museum Day ?

International Museum Day (IMD) is a celebration that held every year on or around 18 May, coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) since 1977. This day is an occasion to raise awareness on how important museums are in the development of society.

Every year a theme will be pronounced by ICOM and the theme for the present year 2013 is
"Museums (memory + creativity) = social change"

On this wonderful day, I have decided to write about the connection between Museums & Chennai.

What's Special for Museum Day in Chennai ?

Today, on the occasion of International Museum Day, Fort museum is adding two new exhibits to its open air gallery to engage children.

Image Source: The Hindu
Here is the excerpts of the Interview by Mr. K.Moortheshwari - Deputy superintending Archeologist , Fort museum for The Hindu magazine.

The original stone platform and pole used for the revolving cannons during the British era will now also have a life-sized model of a cannon with a revolving mechanism which children can operate.

Another highlight will be a ‘talking cannon’ with an inbuilt mp3 player. “The audio will take children through the history of cannons and spread the message of ahimsa and peace,” she said. Write-ups and information boards with trivia about various museums of the world will also greet visitors on Saturday.

This is in line with the theme of this year’s celebration ‘Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change,’ whereby the museum housed in the Exchange Building at Fort St. George will showcase various exhibits that visitors, especially children, can engage with. 

Good thing is, the entry is free for all the fort museums today. So parents, if you want to take your kid to some good place on this vacation, go to Fort Museum and let the kids learn and enjoy at the same time.

List of Museums in Chennai : 

1. Government Museum : 

Location : Pantheon Road, Egmore
Visiting Days : Saturday to Thursday
Visiting Hours : 09.30 to 17.00 hrs
About : The first Government-sponsored Museum in the country opened in Chennai in 1851. It is housed in the Pantheon Complex, and it is best known for two important collections:sculptures from Amravati and its famed Bronze gallery. Especially impressive are the Arms gallery, its prehistoric collection,its philatelic collection, its antique jewellery and the musical instruments collection.There are bronze sculpture from the later Pallava,Chola,Hoysala and Chalukya periods.
Contact: +91-44-2819 3238 (General) / +91-44-2819 3778 (Director of Museums)

2. Fort Museum : 

Location : Fort St. George Museum
Fort St. George, Beach Road
Courtesy: Ram N

Visiting Days : Saturday to Thursday
Visiting Hours : 09.00 to 17.00 hrs
About :The museum displays collection of portraits and paintings of former governors of Chennai as well as of English royalty. Among the other objects on view are weapons, coins, porcelain and the communion vessels of the church.
Contact : 044-25671127; 25670854

3. Regional Railway Museum : 

Location : New Avadi Road. ICF, near ICF bus stand, Chennai-600 038 ( Perambur)
Visiting Days : Tuesday to Sunday
Visiting Hours : 10.00 to 18.00 hours
Source: The Hindu
About : The museum's collection includes both indoor and outdoor exhibits. The indoor galleries include various photographs detailing the early years of Integral Coach Factory and the Indian railways. The museum also houses a working scale model of trains and rare artifacts from the colonial days. This will be where new exhibits, planned for the museum's second decade, will be located.There is also an opportunity to view a video about Neal's ball token system which was used for signalling between trains and a coach in which Gandhi travelled.
In the museum's outdoor spaces, there are more than 40 different models of trains. An 1895 model of the Fowler steam ploughing engine made by Sir John Fowle for agricultural purposes and 1860s Double Decker coaches are some of the recognizable coaches displayed in the museum. The models also include: Coaches of Inspection car RA 30 made by Metropolitan Carriage and Finance Co. Ltd., Crane Hercules (used for emergency relief) and luxury trains coaches. Almost all coaches in the museum are accessible to visitors.
Contact : 044 - 26146267.

4. Sculpture Museum : 

Location : Mahabalipuram / Mamallapuram
Visiting Hours : 09.00 to 17.30 hours
About : The Sculpture Museum contains over 3000 local sculptures in stone, wood, metal and even cement. Some fine paintings are also on display and the front courtyard is littered with sculptures.
Contact : NA

5. Vivekananda Museum : 

Location : Ice House
Visiting Days : Thursday to Tuesday
Visiting Hours : 10.00 to 12.00 & 15.00 to 19.00 hours
About :  It is housed in the famous Ice House in Chennai. Actually this building had been previously the storage place for the Ice which did not melt even when the temperature outside was very high. Swami Vivekananda preached here the noble philosophies of life and henceforth the Ice House was changed into a Museum in course of time.
Contact : 044-28446188

6. B.M. Birla Planetarium & Periyar Science and Technology Museum :

Location : Kotturpuram
Visiting Days : Tuesday to Sunday
Visiting Hours : 10.00 to 17.45 hours
About : The Planetarium houses a modern fully computerised projector which depics the heavens on ahemispherical dome. Visitors can have an information-rich travel through space. The Planetorium presents to the visiting public and students audio-visual programmes on various themes in Astronomy. This is built in memory of the B.M.Birla, the eminent industrialist. This is one of the most modern planetariums in India. B.M. Birla Planetarium is a part of the Science and Technology Museum. The museum attracts children and students.
Contact : 044 2441 0025

Conclusion : Museum is the place where the objects of historical, scientific, artistic, and / or cultural interest are exhibited. Instead of taking your kid for a vacation to a theme park again and again, lets drop in to any of these museums. I am sure you will have a doubt whether your kids enjoy this museum as compared with those theme parks. Though the enjoyment will be little lesser, these museums will educate our children more easily than what is published in the form of books.

References :,,,,,,


  1. Good one Deepak :) Museums are the best sources to witness the ancient objects and resources.

  2. I didnt know that ther r these many museums in chennai.. Good post na.. U rock as always :)