International Museum Day is an international event that we celebrate every year on 18th May. People acknowledge this day to celebrate the importance of museums to the many cultures and traditions we have around the globe. However, it’s not only reminiscence or the memorabilia that make museums special but the buildings themselves. Every floor, every corner has stories to tell. So, in the spirit of this occasion, let’s take a look at some of the places to visit on the International Museum Day.
Liberation war museum (Mukhtijudhho Jadughar)
The previous location of the museum was in the heart of the city, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. The construction of the museum took place under a board of 8 trustees who were keen on preserving the memory of the 1971 liberation war. However, they did not have adequate funding. This led them to seek donations from the general public and also to request them to come forward with any artifacts they had from the war. People came across both of these requests with a lot of enthusiasm. The museum later unbarred on March 22, 1996 in a colonial-era two storied building located at Segunbagicha, Dhaka.
However, the museum recently relocated to Agargaon due to a lack of space – many artifacts couldn’t be on display before this. The new museum stands on an acre of land. The design of the building came through an architectural contest. The new building has a spacious layout of 37673 square feet, with a stage, an auditorium, a canteen, parking space for 106 cars and space for two institutes, The Institute for Liberation War Studies and the Centre for the Study of Genocide and Justice.
Over the past 21 years, the museum had over 600,000 visitors. The museum has two popular programs for youth called the Reach Out program and the Outreach program. Through these programs, around 1900 educational institutes and more than 9 lac students have had the opportunity to visit the museum.
Bangladesh National Museum (Bangladesh Jatiyo Jadughor)
Located in Shahbagh, the museum was established on 20 March, 1913 under a different name (the Dhaka Museum). However, it was titled the National Museum in 1983. The museum has various departments that classify in chronological order including the department of contemporary and world civilizations, department of ethnography and decorative art, department of history and classical art, and the department of natural history.
This is definitely one of the best places to visit on the International Museum Day. Also known as Fort Aurangabad, the palace is a 17th century Mughal fort complex that is located near the Buriganga river. The fort is divided into three parts – the mosque, the tomb of Bibi Pari and the Diwan I-Aam. A water channel connects the three buildings from north to south and east to west. The construction of the historical structure started in 1678 but remained incomplete because the Subahdar of Dhaka, Shaista Khan, considered the fort to be unlucky back then after the death of his daughter, Bibi Pari.
Suhrawardy Uddyan is a national memorial in Dhaka. The name of the place derives after Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy but it also had another name – Ramna Gymkhana. Once upon a time, the place was quite popular as Dhaka Race Course where legal horse racing would take place. Suhrawardy Uddyan witnessed a lot of historical events. It was in this place where Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave his historic speech of ‘This time the struggle is for our freedom’ and the opposition surrendered after the Liberation war.
The Museum of Independence also happens to be on this site. The museum is the first and only underground museum in our country. The plaza area of the museum is a massive space of around 61020 square feet. Renowned architects Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury and Marina Tabassum were the mastermind behind this magnificent architectural edifice.
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This building was the official residence of the Nawab of Dhaka. The historical edifice is at Kumartoli along the banks of the Buriganga river. People recognize Ahsan Manzil as one of the most significant monuments of Bangladesh. The construction of the Indo-Saracenic revival styled structure began in 1859 and completed in 1872. Later on, the two-storied palace achieved the title of a national museum. The sad thing about the history of this palace is that with the decline of the Nawab’s rule in Dhaka, the conditions of the architectural monument started to decline as well. Considering its historical importance, the government later intervened and took the initiative to repair it. By 1992, it gained the title of a museum.
There are many unexplored places to visit on the International museum day that are clearly worthy of a visit. The aforementioned places are some of the best locations to visit if you ever think of taking a day-long trip over the weekend or simply want to know more about our culture and art or just to take a stroll down memory lane.