Chennai Government Museum
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The Chennai Government Museum is located on Pantheon Road in Egmore. What was originally a group of buildings spread over 16.25 acres of land belonging to eminent British citizens is now a repository of paintings, antique jewelry, sculpture and archaeological wonders.
The Madras Literary Society mooted the proposal for a museum and was assisted by Sir Henry Pottinger in setting it up. This museum was housed in the College of Fort St. George, which was located on College Road. It then developed and expanded and moved to its present location. The Public Library (Connemara Public Library) was started here in 1853. The Chennai Museum celebrated its Centenary on November 27, 1951.
There are separate sections on geology, anthropology, botany and zoology. Excellent pieces of Chola Art can be seen at this museum in Chennai. Do not miss the bronze sculpture of Ardhanarishwara - The androgynous incarnation of Shiva. You can see the rich Amaravati sculptures, the gold coin collection of Raja Raja I and Kulothunga I. The Arms Gallery houses arms and weapons of various periods in Tamil history. Ceremonial weapons from the Tanjore Armory are on exhibition here - exquisitely carved knives, maces, daggers and swords with designs on them. Cannon belonging to Mysore and Tranquebar can be seen here. The Contemporary Art Gallery started in 1984 showcases some of the country's finest paintings, textiles, sandalwood work, metalware and ivory carving. Stamps and coins from all over the world are on display. Ancient coinage made of gold, silver, lead and copper are of special interest.
The Museum offers concessional rates to groups of students. The Education Section of the Government Museum arranges periodical lectures by experts. Various training programs are often conducted. Enthusiasts and students are guided on collection, identification, preservation and storage of artifacts. The Botany Section conducts short-term courses in the preservation of botanical specimens. The myriad uses of medicinal plants and herbs in Indian Medicine are explained by Siddha Medical doctors.