For any visitor in Goa, it is important to know the state’s history to appreciate its culture. Museums offer an authentic and tangible source of information about the past. In Goa, it is the Archives Museum that opens the doors to its art and history.
History Behind the Archives Museum
Founded in 1977, the State Archaeology Museum was formally opened to the public only in 1996. Goa State Museum initially started out as a small unit of the Department of Archives in 1973.
The building showcases the traditions and ancient history of the state. The venue of this museum has changed many hands and is finally located in the Old Secretariat or Adil Shah’s Palace.
Archives Museum Timings and Entry Fee
Also known as the Goa State Museum, the Archives Museum is open from Monday to Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. There is no fee to enter the museum.
What to See at the Archives Museum
Goa State Museum is composed of a number of galleries, each with its own theme. Some of the galleries are Sculpture, Christian Art, Printing History, Banerjee Art, Religious Expression, Cultural Anthropology, Contemporary Art, Numismatics, Goa’s Freedom Struggle, Menezes Braganza, Furniture, Environment and Development, Natural Heritage of Goa and Geology.
The Natural Heritage Gallery exhibits the marine life of the Arabian Sea and has dioramas of the Western Ghats along with the photos of Goa’s flora and fauna. There is an entire gallery dedicated to archaic lottery machines which were used by this Indian state to draw the winning numbers.
The Furniture Gallery showcases Indo-Portuguese furniture such as the Table of Goa Inquisition and chair used by the Portuguese Governor General and sofa sets with ivory inlay work. The Religious Expressions gallery is a tribute to the indigenous Hindus in Goa through their musical instruments, religious texts on paper and palm leaf manuscripts, traditional utensils and lamps.
The Geology Gallery displays the topographical map of Goa, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, the interior of Earth, fossils, minerals and shells. It also has panels showcasing iron ore mining in the state, laterite and metal quarry and roads.
The various themed art galleries at the Archives Museum have modern paintings by Goan and other Indian artists, antiquities from the Indus Valley civilization, sculptures of Hindu idols dating back to the Gupta Empire, Gandhara stone sculptures, sculptures from South East Asia and Nepal, and North Indian stone sculptures.
It also has Indian miniature paintings, sculptures from the Portuguese period, portraits of Portuguese Governor Generals, artillery, coat of armory and insignia, a silk Portuguese victory flag, bronze sculptures and western paintings from the Menezes Braganza Gallery and South Indian bronze sculptures.
The Environment and Development Gallery focuses on environmental damages due to pollution and countermeasures. The dioramas have been designed in collaboration with the Conservation Education Center established by the WWF (World Wildlife Forum). The Numismatics Gallery has a collection of coins from various periods of time.
The History of Printing Gallery exhibits various printing machines that were operated manually. There are also fonts, type cases, monographs, rubber stamps and associated machines. The printing press was introduced to Goa in 1556 A.D. by the Portuguese. The state happened to be the first on the continent to have such a machine. In 1557, Goa printed its first book – Doutrina Crista by St. Francis Xavier.
The gallery of Cultural Anthropology showcases the items used by Goans in their daily activities. Here, you will find sculptures that depict traditional lifestyle, weights and measures, indoor games, utensils made of porcelain, clay, brass and copper, agricultural implements, a model of a sugarcane crusher and a boat crane.
Interesting Facts About the Archives Museum
Here is some trivia about the State Archaeology Museum that will make your visit even more exciting:
- The museum organizes a number of contests for students and also lets them exhibit collections curated by the scholars.
- With prior appointment, student groups can watch archaeological and historical documentaries at the Goa State Museum which are screened there.
- If you wish to study any exhibit academically, you can also request for its photo.
How to Reach the Archives Museum
The Archives Museum is located in Panaji – the capital of Goa. You can reach the state archive in a number of ways as listed hereunder:
By Air: If you fly into the Manohar International Airport in Mopa, it will take you 45 minutes to cover the 33 kilometers to get to the State Archaeology Museum. The distance from the Dabolim Airport is 29 km and it takes 40 minutes from there.
By Train: 13 km away, the nearest railway station to this museum is Karmali Railway Station in Corlim. It will take around 20 minutes to reach the Archives Museum from there.
By Bus: The nearest bus stop to the Archives Museum is Panaji Old Secretariat Bus Stop which is just 100 meters away and a 1-minute walk. If you arrive at the Panaji KTC Bus Stand in an outstation bus, you can find connecting buses that stop at Panaji Old Secretariat Bus stop, requiring a 3-minute non-stop ride. However, Panaji KTC Bus Stand is just 1.3 km away from the museum and a 15-minute walk will be enough.
By Car: Get in touch with one of the top car rental companies in Goa if you prefer road journeys and would like the itinerary to be in your control. Any digital map application such as Google Maps will guide you to the Archive Museum if you do not wish to ask for directions while driving. Alternatively, you can hire a car with a local driver who knows the way like the back of his hand.
By Bike or Scooty: You can also rent a two-wheeler to navigate the narrow coastal roads of Goa and zip through traffic quickly. Do not forget to wear a helmet if you are the main rider. Even though helmets are optional for pillion passengers, it is a good practice for them to wear one also. Do note that most bike rental companies offer only one helmet though.
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