Asutosh Museum of Indian Art

Museum Address
University of Calcutta
Senate House,
87/1, College Street
Kolkata - 700073
West Bengal
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When was the museum established?
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Briefly describe the history of the museum, its collection and donors.

Asutosh Museum of Indian Art, the first public museum in any university in India, was established in 1937. Named after Sir Asutosh Mookerjee, the great educationist, who introduced the study of Indology including Indian art and archaeology at the university level, this Museum stands for preservation, presentation and study of objects of Indian art and antiquity particularly of eastern India.

From a humble beginning with only 5 objects, the collections, thanks to the endeavours of Sri D.P. Ghosh, the museum's first curator, and a number of benevolent donors and selfless workers, the museum has swelled to contain more than 25,000 items consisting of sculptures, paintings, folk-art objects, textiles, scrolls, coins, woodcuts, terracottas and decorative arts of extraordinary variety from all over India, providing a wide panorama of cultural endeavours of the people throughout the ages.

Some of the highlights here are:

- a Yakshini sculpture with Panchachuda from the 1st century AD

- a unique illustrated paper manuscript from Nepal, dated to 1105 AD

- the earliest known examples of Pat style painting seen in an illustrated Ramayana manuscript attributed to Tulsidas, dated around 1772 AD.

Since its inception, the Museum has had to change its location more than once. Originally, the collections were housed in the rear portion of the old Senate Hall from where the portable exhibits were shifted to Murshidabad Imambada and heavy stone sculptures were deposited underground in 1942, due to the threat of bombing during world war II. The collections came back to their old location after five years only to be shifted again in 1960, to make room for its new building. Having sojourned in a temporary home for seven years, the Museum returned in 1967 to the newly constructed Centenary Building of the University where the ground and first floors accommodate the galleries and maintenance and administration of the establishment.

The Museum has earned a reputation as being a premier museum of national importance. Soon after establishment, the Museum organised a certificate course in Art Appreciation. The publications of the Museum include useful books on preservation, reports on excavation by the Museum and handbooks on Bengal sculpture, terracottas and coins in its collection. Several sets of coloured and monochrome postcards have also been issued for sale. In 1959, the University of Calcutta instituted a Postgraduate Diploma Course in Museology and the Museum served as the base and a working laboratory for this course.

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Who manages the museum?
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Bonafide visitors, without commercial interests, are ordinarily to take photographs of objects in the Museum, subject to prior written permission by the ‘Curator’ and terms and conditions given below:

Photography :
1. At the entrance the visitor should enter his name and address in Block letters and declare in writing that no commercial use of the photo prints will be made and also supply particulars about the CAMERA with which he intends to take photographs. The number of objects to be photographed is to be stated clearly in the application for the purpose.
2. A fee of Rs 200 (Rupees two hundred only) is charged for the use of Camera with or without stand for each shot of approved ‘Museum Objects’: The amount should be deposited before photographs are taken.
3. The use of flash-gun or use of strong light for photography which may have injurious effect on the paintings in the Galleries is strictly prohibited.
4. Exhibits must not be touched or removed from their position for the purpose of photography.
5. No photograph will be allowed to be taken unless a representative of the section concerned is present.
6. Photograph should be taken in such a way that no obstruction / inconvenience to other visitors is caused.
7. The Curator of the Asutosh Museum reserves the right to disallow, at his discretion, the photographing of any particular object or group of objects.
8. Cost of preparing photographic prints for supply to visitors and others:
A. General:
a. Full size, i.e. 6 “x 8” = Rs 100
b. Half size, i.e. 6” x 4”= Rs 75
c. ¼ size, i.e. 3”x 4”= Rs 50
d. Cost of mailing and handling charges, if any, prevailing at market rate
B. Students and Research scholars of Indian Universities and other Research Institutions
a. Full size, i.e. 6” x 8” = Rs 50
b. Half size, i.e. 6” x 4”= Rs 40
c. ¼ size, i.e. 3”x 4”= Rs 25
d. Mailing and handling charges, if any, prevailing at market rate
9. Re-production of photographs, strictly for other than commercial purposes, is possible subject to the following conditions :
a. Acknowledgement of the courtesy of the Asutosh Museum of Indian Art, Calcutta University should be made prominently and preferably in each plate.
b. Selection of Photographs intended to be published should preferably be restricted to published materials, and subject to the approval of the Curator.
c. Payment of a reproduction fee of Rs. 100/- (Rupees one hundred only) for each plate for academic publications, e.g. Books, Articles, Journals, etc.
d. Supply to the Asutosh Museum, free of cost, 2 copies of the reprints of Articles or Publications in which the reproductions appear.
10. Photographing for meeting lawful commercial interests which may be approved by the Vice-Chancellor or Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs may be permitted subject to the following conditions :
a. A fee of Rs 1000 (Rupees one thousand only) is charged for the use of a camera with or without stand.
b. A fee of Rs 5000 (Rupees five hundred only) is charged for each shot of approved Museum objects.
c. The amount should be deposited before photographs are taken.
d. Other conditions are as noted above under 1,3,4,5,6,7,8 a - b.
11. Reproduction of photographs for lawful commercial purpose is permissible subject to the following conditions.
a. Fees for reproduction of photographs for each item: Rs 1000 (one thousand only).
b. Other conditions are as noted above under 1,3,4,5,6,7 & 8 a – b.
12. The Vice-Chancellor or the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs may waive part or full of the requisite fee at their discretion.

Sketching/Preparation of Eye Copies :

1. Visitors desiring to make sketches of the Asutosh Museum building or of Museum objects in and outside of the building will be required to apply in writing for permission to the Curator.
2. Students from Art Colleges, schools or Institutions, while applying for permission, must produce letters of recommendation from heads of Institutions in which they study.
3. No object should be removed or shifted from its place, nor taken from a case for the purpose of sketching.
4. No obstruction should be caused to other visitors in the Galleries while sketching.
5. Other conditions as stated above will prevail.

Rules regarding Permission for taking Film in the Asutosh Museum of Indian Art :

1. Application for shooting Museum objects is to be made 45 days before shooting in writing to the Curator, specifying the objects for which it is proposed, indicating the Gallery / objects to be filmed and stating the duration and time schedule for the shooting. Decision on such application should be taken by the Vice-Chancellor in consultation with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
2. No unpublished material will be allowed for filming, except with the prior approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs).
3. Filming of fragile or large-sized object or objects susceptible to unfavourable reaction on exposure to very bright light is prohibited.
4. Acknowledgement of the courtesy of the Asutosh Museum of Indian Art, Calcutta University should be made formally.
5. The curator reserves the right to disallow at his discretion, the photography of any particular object or group of objects, without assigning reasons.
6. A 16 mm copy of the film is to be supplied, free of cost, to the Curator of the Asutosh Museum for educational purposes.
If the office staff is required to work outside office hours to assist in the filming operation, the producer will pay in cash through the 7. Curator overtime allowances due to the staff concerned at the prescribed official rate.
8. No equipment and furniture will be provided by the Curator.
9. During the filming operations no damage should be done to the Museum objects and building and furniture. Any damage, if done, will have to be compensated for as determined by the Curator.
10. No shooting will be permitted without prior sanction issued in writing and without payment, in advance, of the requisite fee indicated below and without fulfilling conditions as laid here-in-under.
11. Other conditions as stated above will prevail.
12. Fee for films and documentaries sponsored by educational bodies /institutions of Central/State Government for educational purpose in respect of Museum objects of Galleries or interior structure of the Building : Rs 5000 (Rupees five thousand only).
13. For films intended as commercial productions, the terms and conditions indicated below will have to be conformed to:
i. Application should be made in writing to the Curator stating the location to be covered the subject of the scene to be covered on the site, the approximate duration of filming and the number of personnel required for the purpose of filming. Decision in such application should be taken by the Vice-Chancellor in consultation with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs)
ii. Payment of a fee of Rs 5 lakh in advance for any one select subject.
iii. Filming will take place on a date and hour to be fixed for the purpose by the Curator.
iv. Acknowledgement of the courtesy of the Asutosh Museum of Indian Art, Calcutta University should be formally made.
v. The complete script should be submitted to the Curator for consideration of the University authorities.

The filming operations are to be carried on in such a way that no disturbance is caused to the visitors. The applicant will have to change his programme if the Curator apprehends any such disturbance. If necessary, the permission may be cancelled any time without previous notice. The Museum shall not be held responsible for loss, if any, suffered by the producer on account of such cancellation.
Reference Link
What is the average duration to see the museum?
1-2 hours
Map your museum’s correct location on the map given below.

22.5748362, 88.3626297

Is the museum currently closed?
Image for museum exterior/building
Asutosh Museum of Indian Art entrance
Gallery Images
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An image of the entrance of the Asutosh Museum of Indian Art
Image title
Yakshini with Panchachuda | Terracotta Chandraketugarh | District 24 Parganas | C. 1st Century A.D.
1st Century A.D.
Black Basalt
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Surya Black Basalt Kasipur | District 24 Parganas | 7th Century A.D.
7th Century A.D.
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Kantha Embroidered Cotton | Khulna, East Pakistan
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Krishna Radha Manuscript Cover in Wood | Ganjam, Orissa | C. 18th Century A.D.
18th Century A.D.
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Page from Pancharaksha Manuscript in Paper | Nepal | 1105 A.D.
1105 A.D.
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Rasalila in Terracotta | Bansberia, District Hooghly | C. 17th Century A.D.
17th Century A.D.
Entry Fee
Entry fee information
Adults: ₹10
Students: ₹5
Opening Days
Opening Time
10:30 a.m.
Closing Time
05:30 p.m.