The history of the origin and the growth of the Indian Museum is one of the remarkable events towards the development of heritage and culture of India.
Founded in 1814 at the cradle of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (at the present building of the Asiatic Society, 1 Park Street, Kolkata), Indian Museum is the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world.
With the foundation of Indian Museum in 1814, the Museum movement started rolling in India and through the years from then, got a new fillip and great momentum. Since then, it has so magnificently developed and culminated into the fruitful existence of more than 400 museums in the country.
The movement, which was started in 1814, in fact was the beginning of a significant epoch initiating the socio-cultural and scientific achievements of the country. It is otherwise considered as the beginning of the modernity and the end of mediaeval era.
To appreciate the history of the origin and growth of the Indian Museum we are to travel back to the last quarter of the 18th century when Sir William Jones a profound scholar devoted his life to the service of India, founded the Asiatic Society in 1784 in Kolkata.
The role of the Asiatic Society was to form a learning centre for the development of art and culture pertaining to the socio-cultural activities, entertaining people, disseminating knowledge and preserving the cultural as well as natural heritage of mankind for posterity within the geographical limits of Asia.
Sir William Jones, the founder of the Asiatic Society, however, in his inaugural address did not refer to the foundation of a museum as part of the activities of the society.
In 1796 the members of the Asiatic Society conceived an idea of establishing a Museum at a suitable place for the reception and preservation of the objects whatever it is performed by man or produced by nature.
The idea got shape in the beginning of 1808 when society found itself in a position to occupy its premises erected at the corner of Park Street on a land granted by the Government.