SITE MUSEUMS UNDER ASI

The concept of Museum in India may be tracted back to the nistoric period, where we find the references of “Chitrasala”(picture galleries). The earliest necessity in india to house the object of antiquarian remains, dates back to late 1796 AD, when the Asiatic Society of Bengal felt the need to house the enormous collection of archaeological, ethnological, geological and Zoological pursuits.

However the credit to establish the first museum in india goes to the Asiatic Society of Bengal in the year 1814. Later on the nucleus of Asitic Society provided to the Indian Museum,Calcutta. In the year 1861,when the Department of Archaeological Survey of India was established, a vast number of antiquarian remains were collected on the initiative of its first Director General Sir Alexander Cunningham. However the creation of site museum had to wait until the arrival of Sir john Marashall, who intiated the funding of the local museums like Sarnath(1904), Agra(1906),Ajmer(1908) Delhi Fort(1909), Bajpur(1912),Nalanda(1917) and Sanchi(1919) A separate branch of museums was created in 1946 by Mortimer Wheeler the then Director General, Archaeological Survey of India. After independence, there was surge in the growth of site museums by ASI.

As of today there are 45 Site Museums across the country under the control of this prestigious organization.Archaeological Site Museum, Jageshwar under of the control of Dehradun circle is one among them. In the year 1995 a small sculpture shed was constructed which housed 160 rare sculptures, ranging from 8th-16 cent.AD. These sculptures were collected from Jageshwar, Kuber and Dandeshwar group of temples.

The same sculpture shed was converted into a site museum in 2002 with a gallery displaying 36 precious sculptutes placed in two wall showcases and wooden pedestals. On 20th September 2002, Shri Jag Mohan, the then Hon’ble Minister of Tourism and Culture, Government of India inaugurated this site museum for the visitors.