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The then stalwarts and luminaries like Rabindranath Tagore; Mahatma Gandhi Dr. Abanindranath Tagore; Chakrabarty Rajagopalachari, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Dr. Stella Cramrisch etc., all expressed their gratitude to Shri Gurusaday Dutt, (I. C. S. during British India), for his untiring endeavour to revitalize the obsolescent folk art of undivided Bengal which he collected from the remote parts of the province. They were of the same opinion that without the enthusiasm and energy of Shri Gurusaday Dutt, a heaven favour harbinger, the Herculean task of revival of our ancient culture could not have been done. It was he, who himself took up a great work and gave an impetus to the neo-Bengal school of art which others might well emulate.
Diamond Harbour Road
Shri Gurusaday Dutt
I. C. S. (1882-1941)
Brief History: During his tenure as District Collector in the remote parts of the then Bengal, Shri Gurusaday Dutt (1882-1941), ICS, developed deep admiration understanding and interest for the rural folks and their rustic arts. To preserve, revive and revitalize the dying folk art traditions he collected between 1929 and 1939 about 2325 exquisite specimens including several heirlooms. As bequeathed by Shri Dutt, the whole collection, after his death in 1941, was handed over to the Bengal Bratachari Society which was also founded by him sometime earlier to preserve the Bengali folk traditions and culture.

In the year 1961, the Museum building was opened by Dr. Bidhan Chandra Ray, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal and on the 8th day of February, 1963, Professor Humayun Kabir, the then Union Minister of Education, Govt. of India declared the galleries open for the people.

In the year 1984, the management of the Museum was transferred to the Gurusaday Dutt Folk Art Society, which has undertaken its development with the financial support from the Ministry of Textile, Government of India under an Agreement held on May, 23, 1984 between the President of India and the Bengal Bratachari Society. As per item no. 4 of the said Agreement, Government of India is to give all financial requirements to upkeep and maintain the Museum. Initially the grant, in question, were released through the Ministry of Textiles, Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), National Handicrafts & Handloom Museum from the year 1984-1985 to 1991-1992. Subsequently the grants were released directly from the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, New Delhi since 1992-1993.

Importance: The Gurusaday Museum – a National Treasure of Heritage : presently, the Museum has a rich collection of approximately 3300 exquisite exhibits of folk arts and crafts, which amply reflect the vigour and vitality of the rural life and present a vivid picture of art and social traditions, religious beliefs, practices and motifs, aesthetic assimilation and cultural influences in undivided Bengal as well as in India.

A view of the Galleries
A new gallery is coming up in the Annex Building that shall house the personal belongings of Shri Gurusady Dutta.
Conservation: Restoration Work-shop to repair, restore and treat the objects scientifically by Expert Conservators. Fumigation, Deacidification, lamination of manuscripts and binding of rare books are done regularly by the experts.
Documentation: All the objects have been physically verified and properly accessed in Accession Register and as well as Classified Register. The preparations of the catalogue cards are in progress. Catalogues of the woodcarvings and Kalighat paintings have also been printed as a final documentation of the collection.

The Library on the first floor
Library: A library of the Museum has been established to encourage the readership of visiting students, research fellows and interested persons of archaeology, folklore and folk art and crafts.
Different magazines on folklore including arts and crafts are kept in this library regularly and catalogue cards for each book have been prepared. The present library of the Museum is need to be upgraded by increasing its collection through purchase of books, journals related to folk arts, crafts and indology etc. The students, research scholars and art-lovers can be benefited by using the said library.
IT & Photocopy facilities: The museum has three computers (PC) along with accessories and two Photocopier machines, which were gifted by Indian Museum, Kolkata under its infrastructural development aid programme to other museums.
Rotational Exhibition: In addition, rare objects of folk art and crafts preserved in the reserve collection along with new acquisitions are also displayed every month at the entrance of the museum as 'Exhibit of the Month', depending on the nature of the month and the ritual & festivals held in these months. This new feature of rotational exhibition was introduced from 1984.
Annex Building: Because of scarcity of space, only one fifth of the total collections are kept on display. Construction of an Annex Building has been under process with the financial assistance from the National Cultural Fund received from the Department of Culture, Government of India; MPLADS Fund of Dr. Arjun Kumar Sengupta [RS] and the rest from Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), New Delhi.

Garden: There is a beautiful garden covering the vacant land surrounding the pond that is right in front of the museum building, enriched with the beds of seasonal flowers. Visitors both foreign and local irrespective of category are highly impressed with the garden. Only a part-time gardener maintains the entire garden.

Guriji's Sculpture in the Garden

Executive Secretary & Curator: The Executive Secretary is the administrative head of the Museum. Presently Dr. Bijan Kumar Mondal is the Executive Secretary & Curator.

Telefax: +91-33-2453-5972
Mobile: +91-8902277456 and +91-9674208519
(Executive Secretary)


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