National Children’s Museum
The National Children’s Museum is located within the premises of Bal Bhavan on Kotla Marg (Road) near I.T.O. in New Delhi. The nearest functional metro station is the Central Secretariat from where local transport like an auto rickshaw can be hired. Alternatively, you can also hire a cab to this Museum. The Centre welcomes you into a huge campus that is seen beautifully designed with clay murals on the walls of its interiors that homes an Aquarium, Science Park, Jet Fighter plane and a functional Mini Train for children.
The Institution of Bal Bhavan runs under the supervision of the Ministry of Human Resource Development or HRD in short as an autonomous centre that provides a venue to support and enhance the creative elements of a child both healthy and physically challenged aged between 5 and 16 years old through activities. It gives a platform for children to showcase their inherent skills while also assisting the others in honing their individual skills through extensive interaction, innovation and opportunities broken down into different categories as per the age and ability of the child. The barrier free methodology and friendly atmosphere helps the child to easily grasp any teachings less the stress and pain of learning or adapting to a new skill.
The National Children’s Museum helps any child in exploring its untapped potential which is either inherent or cultivated with the help of the parents or elders. Children have a basic ability and instinct that drives their curious minds into various creative territories thus sprouting new innovations and ideas which need to be realised and recognised by any parent. Museums like this one play a vital function in helping parents who wish to satisfy the creative urges of their children which eventually can culminate into strong original forms by the time they become adults.
The Museum uses unconventional methods to educate and nurture the skills of these children by using world class principles which accommodates their psychological needs and uses a child’s approach through visual aspects by converting theoretical application into practical application via regular exhibitions, activities, workshops, seminars and programmes wherein the child can observe, analyse, experiment and explore the various options presented before them. The activities and workshops can be summarised into three parts namely ‘Museum’ based where events like the Sun Week, Heritage Week and Museum Week are organised, ‘Theme’ based wherein the importance of conserving and preserving art forms, moulding, casting and miniature paintings are organised and lastly, ‘Curriculum’ based wherein various subject and topic based activities are conducted.
The National Children’s Museum homes a massive array of worldwide collections ranging from Dolls, Toys, Objects made of Bronze and Stones, Art and Craft items, utensils, jewelleries, musical instruments, currencies and many more that completely captures the interest and fascination of all the children. These visual presentations increase the retention of information and knowledge of the children exponentially that helps them in making informed choices and future decisions and thus breaking all the barriers of a conventional method of education.
The Museum homes two types of galleries which is the Permanent Gallery that is further divided into three sections named as the ‘Hamara Bharat’, ‘Gaurav Gatha’ and the ‘Surya’ (Sun) galleries while the Temporary Gallery exhibits only Theme based activities.
The Hamara Bharat or ‘Our India’ Gallery was created in 1994 which exhibits all the cultural Arts, Crafts, Religion, Rituals and progress in the area of Science and Technology through an audio and visual display that showcases the wealth of the Indian Cultural Heritage that creates a sense of pride amongst any visitor. The Gaurav Gatha or ‘Story of Pride’ Gallery depicts a series of elements that marks and narrates the pride, glorious and historical past of India including their first struggle for Independence, Battles, Failures, Victories, Social Reforms, Traditional customs and the evident unity of secularity and diversity that captivates the interest of all the visitors. The Surya or ‘Sun’ Gallery was established in 1996 with the purpose to educate everyone on the advantage of solar power as an excellent substitute and resource for generating energy for the daily electricity needs of an individual since the resources from Mother Nature are depleting at a rapid rate due to high demands and requirements of the modern lifestyles. It also educates children and young people on the different cultures that uses the Sun as their focal point of worship seen in India, China, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. This section displays the origin of the Solar System, formation of eclipses, change in climate and seasons, cycle of Day and Night and shadow formation, the study of the cycle of water, nitrogen and photosynthesis and many more relating to the study and powerful utility and properties of the ‘Sun’ in the universe and our lives.
The Temporary exhibition Gallery displays the entire ‘theme’ based and ‘creative’ arts and craft works of Children and thus motivating them to unleash more of their hidden creative potentials and qualities. This section exclusively and annually presents the crafts and arts of children from more than 50 Bal Bhavan Centres including the National Bal Bhavan and the Jawahar Bal Bhavan at Mandi.
The Centre also strives in preserving and sharing the ancient skills and techniques of different forms of art and craft that lie on the edge of extinction and seem to be disappearing with time by transferring its knowledge to the current generation and passing on to the next generation through a continuous cycle of training, interaction and sharing.
Every summer on May and June, the National Bal Bhavan invites numerous skilled craftsmen from across the country to train the children and share their inherent skills on arts and crafts with them. Other activities performed by the children include Skits, clay modelling, puppet shows and arrangement of their costumes, creation of toys etc. that creates immense joy and enthusiasm amongst them. Hostel accommodation, sports and games facilities are also available within the Campus. It remains opened from 0900 hours to 1730 hours on all days except Gazetted Holidays with no entry fee; however, prior permission needs to be obtained for photography within the Museum premises. Information regarding membership fees and charges for enrolling a child into this campus can be obtained from the administrative division within this building.