The Patna Museum is the archaeological museum of Bihar in India. Sir Edward Gait, the Lieutenant Governor of Bihar and Odisha,to conserve the historical relics, in 1917 he have founded the locally known ‘JADU GHAR’ in the style of Mughal and Rajput architecture. The museum is the house of collection of Mauryan and Gupta stone sculptures. Along with the archaeological objects, coins and instruments the bronze sculptures and terracotta images of Hindu and Buddhist artists are also exhibited in the salon of Bihar. The historical museum stands tall protecting the artifacts, leftovers of Pala and Sena dynasties, items of 1st world war, etc to showcase its rare collections of paintings, arts and variety of instruments.
The archaeological museum reserves a large collection of historic items found in excavations in Bihar. The stone sculptures of Gupta and Mauryan dynasties were housed in the museum. The sculptures of the Gupta art are quite effective due to its simplicity and expressiveness. These sculptures were carved out of the Steele and were heavily decorated. The artistic manifestation of Greco – Buddhism, popularly known Greco – Buddhist art was developed between the conquests of “Alexander the Great” and the “Islamic conquests”. These are made of Blue – schist of Swat valley and can be found in the house of relics. The adobe of historic items display sculptures from the Kushan Empire, an empire in South Asia. The weapons which were used by many kings in many kingdoms along with Humayun’s dagger can be found in the Museum of Bihar.
The historical museum has the rare reserve of the paintings portraying the typical life of the British rule in India. The phenomenal collection of Tibetan bygones and the cloth paintings which were known popularly as “Thangkas” can be seen in this multipurpose museum. These paintings from the neighboring countries were brought to India by the famous traveler ‘Rahul Sankrityayan’. The mortal remains of Lord Buddha can be quoted as one of its rare possessions and can be seen in a relic casket. ’Didarganj Yakshi’ which is one of the finest examples of the Mauryan Art can only be seen in the museum of Patna. The 64 inch tall ‘Didarganj Chauri Bearer’ is sculpted out of a single piece of sandstone. The 2000 year old, life-size standing sculpture was discovered on the banks of River Ganga at Didarganj in Patna.
The Patna Museum houses some pre-historic objects of great interest including Palaeoliths, Microliths and Neoliths. The multipurpose museum owns the biggest collection of copper hoards which represents the casting technique and the high skill in the metallurgy of the period. The Terracotta figurines, potteries and seals-sealing’s which are a few of the important finds from the classical sites Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. The Museum of Patna has a fairly good number of paintings which are made on paper, mica and ivory of Patna Qalam, ‘The Patna School of Painting’. The Museum possesses extremely rare and valuable antiquities and art objects and occupies a very prominent position as a repository of our art treasures. A mixed set of stuffed animals which are tigers, crocodile, a goat kid with 3 ear and eight legs and a wombat might be seen in the museum.
Along with the archaeological and historical objects, the 53 feet long fossilized tree of Pine family can be seen in the multipurpose museum. The three idols of deities Balarama, Ekanamsa and Vasudeva which are displayed in the gallery of Patna museum has their own importance in the ancient history. The archaeological museum building also houses few government offices like office of the National Mission for Manuscripts and Bihar Research Society. The Museum also has three paintings of Maitreya, Avalokitesvara and Buddha in bhumisparsha mudra, a central moment in the life of Buddha when he preached his first sermon after his Enlightenment, in Deer Park. In November 2009, a project was started to build a replacement museum in Patna to enable the display of larger collections of up to 20,000 objects.