Patna is a city with a storied past and this land saw the advent of many glorious civilizations. The history of this city unravels like a ball of thread that surprises you with twists and turns as we travel over two millennia. The Patna Museum established in 1917 will soon turn a century old along with the date of discovery of its most cherished and visited artefact – the world famous Didarganj Yakshi, a statue of monumental Mauryan vision. In the state of Bihar, the need for a new museum was seriously felt, the Patna Museum having limitations, both in physical space as well as in its design and methods of presentation. Department of Art, Culture and Youth, State of Bihar (DACY) proposed a new Museum on Bailey Road on the site west of the Patna Museum. Commonly known as the Jadu Ghar, literally house of magic, to most residents of Bihar, the Patna Museum has celebrated artefacts and collections. Many of these objects of history and art are relocated to the new Museum with the vision of making it a central focus to celebrate the glorious history of this region, a catalysing force that united ancient India. With this in mind, based on competitive bidding, the world’s largest and leading firm, Lord Cultural Resources were commissioned to do the planning of a world-class Museum in Patna.
The existing Patna Museum was the starting point for the new Museum and the vast collections from the Patna Museum were carefully researched and analysed. It was decided to keep much of the natural history as part of the interpretation of that existing Museum as the large silicified tree that was cemented into the ground. This also became the signifier of the natural history collection at the present Patna Museum. At Patna Museum, it was proposed new exhibits would be added, exploring the modern history of Bihar from the colonial period forward, with a focus on the heroism of the struggle for independence and the achievements of Bihar and India since Independence.
The direction for the new Bihar Museum was provided by the Chief Minister and senior levels of the Bihar State government. The Bihar Museum will focus on human history. The permanent collection galleries of the Bihar Museum have two basic components – the history galleries and the art gallery. There are also the Orientation Gallery and Special Displays. From the collections culled from the existing Patna Museum, the Bihar Museum represents artistic heritage from ancient times, thematically as works of art. There are dedicated areas on the tribal arts, crafts and performing arts of the various regions of Bihar.
The Museum is visualized especially keeping the needs of Bihari residents in mind, to create a sense of belonging for people of the State and to create an inspiring environment for children and youth to learn and progress. It attracts a crowd from world over and is an exciting tourist destination and cultural hub. The exhibits and displays are tailored to create interactive spaces and people are encouraged to make repeat visits.