Chittagong University Museum, Bangladesh

Chittagong University Museum - Building Chittagong University Museum - Sculpture Gallery

The Chittagong University Museum was established in 1973 at the initiative of the Chittagong University Authority.

As an academic museum, the Chittagong University Museum accelerates advanced learning by the provision of materials and facilities for research. It also aims to stimulate public interest and encourages understanding and appreciation of the history, archaeology and art heritage of Bangladesh.

The Chittagong University (CU), a multidisciplinary, research-oriented public university, took the responsibility of the historic region by founding its own academic museum. The museum is administrated by a board of trustees, which constituted by the university syndicate. Currently, the museum is capturing a significant position on the university campus by establishing pleasurable learning experiences and creating an academic atmosphere through exhibitions, research and publications as a tool of visual education.

Though the Chittagong University Museum was officially opened on 14 June 1973, its founding process actually began on 26 November 1966, also the day in which CU started its journey. The idea of a museum inadvertently emerged from an exhibition where some 24 objects of antiquity were displayed to mark the university’s inauguration. Mr. Mumtaz Hasan, president of the Museum Association of Pakistan and then Managing Director of the National Bank of Pakistan, donated those items to the university. Renowned historian and antiquarian Prof Azizur Rahaman Mallick (1918-97), the first Vice Chancellor (VC) of CU, conceived the idea and actively initiated the collections along with eminent historian and supernumerary professor Dr Abdul Karim, also a former CU VC and head of its history department. The other objects were collected through a joint field survey conducted by the teachers and students of the Department of History at CU. Dr. Shams ul Hossain, one of the students of the maiden batch of the department and also the first curatorial founding staff of the Chittagong University Museum, was a member of the survey team led by Prof Dr Abdul Karim.

After several temporary locations, in 1992 the Chittagong University Museum was transferred to its current premises, a three-storey building covered with greenery trees within the CU campus.

The first floor of the museum houses five permanent exhibition galleries, as follows:

  • Pre-History and Archaeological Gallery
  • Sculpture Gallery
  • Islamic Art Gallery
  • Folk Art Gallery
  • Contemporary Art Gallery

On the other hand, the ground floor includes the Abdul Karim reference library, a conservation laboratory, a space for special exhibitions and workshops, a documentation and research service centre and the Museum’s stores and offices. An open-air stage, thematic gardens and the museum yard complete the Chittagong University Museum’s premises.

Permanent Collections: The collection of the museum contains raw source of history and culture of Bangladesh. The exhibits described and documented in this museum have been carefully chosen from numerous antiquities found in and around greater Chittagong and several parts of the country, which encompasses more than two thousand years of history. According to acquisition register, the number of objects of antiquities is nearly 2,000 pieces. Those objects include ancient and medieval coins, inscriptions, manuscripts, sculptures, epigraphs, wood works, terracotta, arm and armaments, textiles, metalwork, metal ware, porcelain, jewelry, minor art and contemporary art of Bangladesh.

Detailed information about the contents of individual galleries can be found on the museum’s website.

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