Gandhi National Museum
The Gandhi National Museum also called as 'National Gandhi Museum' and 'Gandhi Memorial Museum' is located in Rajghat in New Delhi very close to the Memorial site of the great Mahatma Gandhi Ji where he was cremated on 31st January 1948 and it is easily accessible by local transport. The Museum was formerly known as the 'Gandhi Memorial Museum' or the 'Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya' but now is renamed as 'Rashtriya Gandhi Sangrahalaya' or the 'National Gandhi Museum' to avoid any confusion due to the existence of numerous Museums dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi Ji.
The Museum of Gandhi Ji came into existence after his assassination on 30th January 1948 after which the Government authorities felt the need to preserve the personal belongings and objects used by the 'Father of the Nation'. The authorities took a lot of time and gathered patience while they chose, collected and stored all personal manuscripts, journals, books, relics, documents, photographs, audio/visuals and material on the life, work and philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi Ji. All these items were carefully preserved and displayed within this Museum.
The National Gandhi Museum was first located in Mumbai and later moved to New Delhi in 1951 next to Kota House and again shifted sometime in 1957 to an ancient Mansion located at 5, Mansingh Road. The authorities then finally moved the museum to Rajghat in 1959 where they deemed was the most appropriate and perfect place to home Gandhi Ji's belongings. The Museum was constructed at the height of a two-storey building inaugurated on 30th January 1961 on Gandhi Ji's Death anniversary by Dr. Rajendra Prasad who was then the President of India.
The Museum homes a massive collection of all materials that were very close to Mahatma Gandhi Ji and well connected to his life. It forms a nodal of all literature works, studies and material published on the life and works of Gandhi Ji which talks about his later years of freedom struggle and non-violence philosophies which were greatly followed by many Indian Freedom Fighters.
The Museum has an Entrance Gallery section that displays a large motif of 'Satyagraha' carved on wood by Willemia Muller Ogterop, wood carved 'Three wise monkeys', Quotations like 'Talisman', 'Seven Social Dreams', 'India of my dreams' etc. on display, Parchure Shastri who was Gandhi Ji's nurse and suffered later from leprosy seen in Sevagram Ashram, Telephones with six hands through which visitors can listen to Gandhi Ji's speech recorded both in Hindi and English and Photographs and Sculptures of figures are seen displayed here.
The Photographic Gallery section displays a range of Mahatma Gandhi Ji's 285 photographs set in chronological order and separated into 10 phases of his life with each phase displaying a write-up beginning with his birth, childhood, education, arrival at Delhi up till 1947, Mahatma Gandhi Ji's walking stick which he used during his 'Salt' protest march between 12th March 1930 and 5th April 1930 is on display, Personal books, belongings, microscope used by him to study the disease and germs of leprosy, Gandhi Ji's three wise monkeys, pen, Rosary which he used for praying, sandals, watches and other relics used by him, Gandhi Ji's ancestral Family Tree up till his descendants (great-grand children), a replica of Gandhi Ji's Living Room, 'Khadi Sari' gifted to Indira Gandhi during her marriage in 1942 by Gandhi Ji and his wife Kasturba Gandhi, A sculpture of Gandhi Ji as the 'Father of the Nation' or 'Bapu' carved by Ram Suttar, Vegetarian Society's membership badge used by Gandhi in London, Two Flags of historical importance used by Gandhi in South Africa and the other presented by Gandhi to Shri Janki Dass for an International Sports Meet and Silver medals received by Gandhi Ji for organising the Zulu Rebellion and the Indian Medical Corps in Boer War in South Africa.
The third section which is the Commemorative Gallery displays a collection of bedding and clothes used and worn by Gandhi Ji and his wife, Kasturba Gandhi and clothes worn by Gandhi Ji while he was staying in Birla House before his assassination, miniature Indian Flags hoisted on 26th January 1943 (Republic Day of India) within the precincts of Aga Khan Mahal (Palace) Jail by Gandhi Ji, Photographs depicting Bapu's last few day's stay in Birla House right through his assassination and cremation in Rajghat, Notes, Coins, cover issues, Stamps from 72 different countries and a collection of Indian Stamps used by the Indian Government; all with Gandhi Ji's picture printed on them, Scrolls and 8 volumes bounded together gifted by General Chiang Kai Shek and a Chinese poet named Jai Chi Ta which contains homage written by all the members of the Chinese Government and other organisations paying respect to Gandhi Ji after his death, A copy of Gurudev Tagore's 4-page letter written to Gandhi Ji, Model of a Railway coach which carried Gandhi Ji's 'Urn' from Delhi to Allahabad, A few documents written by Gandhi Ji on 29th January 1948 requesting the Congress to re-structure and re-organise their Political Party and public speeches received by Bapu. Other than these, there are other items also on display which relate to Gandhi Ji and his life.
The Martyrdom Gallery section as the name suggest, displays the items pertaining to the assassination of Gandhi Ji. These are one of the three bullets that hit Gandhi Ji, Blood stained clothing like a watch, Shawl and Dhoti worn by Gandhi Ji at the time he was killed, Urns that carried Gandhi Ji's ashes to be immersed in all the sacred rivers of India, A wooden frame that held one of the most important Urn and bags made of cloth which held the ashes of Gandhi Ji being carried to Prayag in Allahabad and Rameshwaram, A large panel that displays the photographs and newspapers pertaining to the assassination and cremation of Gandhi Ji and another panel which displays 'Vaishnavjan' and 'Lead Kindly Light' which were the favourite hymns of Gandhi Ji, A huge photograph seen in the size of an entire wall which contains 'My Life is My Message', a quote by Gandhi Ji and another panel which displays a list of opinions given by various Leaders of the World on Gandhi Ji.
The Art Gallery section displays a collection of 40 carefully selected sketches, paintings, sculptures, Art work made of wood, metal wire, groundnut shells and embroidery work on Gandhi Ji.
The Ashram Gallery Section homes Models that imitate the cottages of Gandhi Ji in South Africa, Sevagram Ashram near Wardha and Satyagraha Ashram in Sabarmati and a caption written about all the five Ashrams of Gandhi including the 11 vows made by him.
The Charka (Spinning Wheel) Gallery displays models of 23 Charkhas or 'Spinning wheels' from traditional, portable designs to semi-automated designs along with the looms, equipments and other elements relating to Hand spinning, Photographs and yarns which were spun by Gandhi Ji and other Political Leaders and various articles written on 'Swadeshi' and 'Khadi' by Gandhi Ji.
The Museum has a huge Library that holds a massive collection of Books based on Freedom s between 1757 and 1947 and other books based on Social work, Literature and Naturopathy that accounts to over 27,000 different book titles and 25,000 copies of telegrams, letters and notes written by and for Gandhi Ji to and for other Leaders available in different Indian Languages and can be used by all visitors for reading and reference purposes, however, hiring these books or taking them outside the premises of the Library is strictly prohibited. The Audio and Visual Section has a gamut of audio and video tapes, CDs, DVDs, records, movies and films on the life of Mahatma Gandhi Ji and his freedom fighting campaigns which you can listen to and watch. However, if you want to purchase any books or videos, then visit the Gandhi Literature Centre which showcases over 1400 titles of books, audio and video tapes, CDs and DVDs, Movies, Short Films, Postcards, Photographs, Key chains, pens and small replicas of the memorabilia of Gandhi Ji, all for sale.
All the Museum Galleries, Gandhi Literature Centre and the Special Exhibitions are open to public between 0930 hours and 1730 hours and closed on all Mondays only while the Library, Photographic Section, Audio and Visual Section and Administration Office are opened to public between 1000 hours and 1700 hours and closed on all Mondays, 2nd Sundays of a month and all Gazetted Holidays. Entry into the museum and photography are free of charge, however, video filming is charged at INR 100.00 per hour per camcorder.