national museum myanmar

National Museum Myanmar – A living History of the Land

The National Museum Myanmar was established at the Jubilee Hall, in the year 1952 in June, the hall is situated on the Shwedagon Pagoda Road in Yangon and it was the museum’s first destination. In February 8, 1970, the museum was moved to another building on Pansodan Road while it was transferred for the third time in the year 1996. This time it was moved to the area of 3.804 acres at the 66/74 Pyay Road, Yangon in and it is where the museum is presently located. A visit to National Museum is one of the recommended things to do in Myanmar.

National Museum Myanmar

The National Museum is one of the most prestigious constructions in Myanmar as it has a wide collection of Burmese’s historical objects that reflect the country’s history and culture. Currently, the museum has thousands of artifacts on display and the construction is extended over five storeys of building in the Dagon area.

The National Museum Myanmar, on its present destination of the Pyay Road is an impressive building having 14 halls on four storeys that are used to display the priceless relics of Myanmar. While the three storeys on the ground floor are dedicated to demonstrating the evolution of Myanmar’s language like a script and alphabet, the Ratanapon Period objects and the Lion Throne Room. The place is filled with antiques, historical objects and many other Burmese artifacts.

The best thing about the National Museum Myanmar is that it is a great place for the young people and tourists to study the origin and evolution of Burmese literature and alphabet. Besides, it also has a stone funerary urn from the era of AD1 to AD 9 having Pyu writings on it.

Lion Throne and Royal Regalia

The throne room is embellished with several minuscule figurines of eight types of the thrones of the old kings of Myanmar whereas the Royal Lion Throne is of the last monarch ruler, King Thibaw, is present and displayed in all its glory. The throne is carved in smooth grained Yamanay timbre with lions carved and decorated at its base. The throne is richly covered and painted in gold and is always put on a show in the ‘Hluttaw’ Hall. The monarch king used to deliver important decisions and dealing with is ministered on the country’s current affairs while sitting on this royal throne.

Ratanabon Period Exhibit Hall

As apparent from its name, the Ratanabon Period Exhibit all is dedicated to displaying the ancient objects of the 19th century Rattanabon period. The hall consists of notable clothing trends, furniture and numerous household that were used in those times. As a bonus, they also have a special King Thibaw’s Chief monk’s palanquin having an embellished narrow tapering roof top structure.

Museum’s Halls and Galleries

The first floor of the National Museum Myanmar consists of four halls; the first one displays the royal regalia, the second one has historical objects on exhibition, the third one depicts a prehistoric era while the fourth one has an impressive collection of objects of natural history. The hall of royal regalia has beautiful royal objects that have significant importance in the royal ceremonies. A crisp example of such a royal relic is a royal betel box made in the shape of a Brahmini bird, the box is decorated with gold and other precious gemstones.

Myanmar Historic Period

This hall is entirely focused on the display of historical pagodas, temples, monasteries and royal and religious ordination halls of the ancient Bagan Period as well as the magnificent wall paintings of Innwa, Nyaungyan, Pinya and KonBaung periods. The onlookers also have the opportunity of seeing the unique and rare tablets having depictions from the Jataka story scenes, which are the several birth stories of Lord Buddha’s life.

Pre-Historic Times Hall

In the pre-historic times hall, there is a model of Padalin Cave (Padah-Lin), which is more than 10,000 years old. The chief reason of the cave’s significance is that it is the place where people from the Stone Age once lived and have their carved drawings on the walls. Besides, the hall also consists of impressive and rare stone weapons from the Neolithic Era as well as the bronze weapons from the later ages. Some other ancient objects of interest include clay pots, necklaces, votive tablets, urn and others that are reflective of the Pyu Era extending from the first to the ninth century A.D.

Alongside all this, you will also get to see rare and priceless parade of silver Stupas that were found during the archaeological digging in the ancient Sriksetra’s Pyu city. From these evidences, it is quite easy and reasonable to state that the Buddhist religion originated in Myanmar during the earliest Pyu Period.

Natural History Exhibit Hall

The natural history exhibit hall is dedicated to the historical findings like fossils of millions of years old and is a truly rare and extraordinary collection. One such example is a fossil of an anthropoid primate that is approximated to be nearly 40 million years old. Then fossil was found in Pondaung area of the Upper Myanmar.

The second floor of the National Museum Myanmar is used to exhibit the performing arts of Myanmar like dancing, singing and music.

Myanmar Traditional Folk Life

In this hall, there are notable and significant objects based on the rural and traditional life in Myanmar. Visiting the hall is a great opportunity to learn about the social, political and cultural traditions of Myanmar. It has the common and traditional mode of transportation of the country, which is the cart and bullocks, still used in the country, the cart is used to carry agricultural products and other produces and are, sometimes, adorned with wood carvings. Instead of being heavy and bulky, the cart is quite light inbuilt and is used at the important ceremonies and pagodas. Such scenes are sight worthy as the people are smartly dressed in their best attire.

Since monasteries hold great importance in Myanmar, monks are treated no less than royalty, special offering bowls for monks, ornate with mosaic and semi precious stones, are used whenever they are offered food and other victuals on special religious ceremonies.

Hall of Paintings

The Hall of Paintings is, probably, one of the most notable and beautiful halls of the museum as it is filled with remarkable paintings of Burma’s stone age to the eras of Bagaan, Innwa, Amarapura, Konbaung, Ratanabon and 20th century artists. Paintings and works from famous contemporary and classic artists exhibit in this hall.

Myanmar Ancient Ornaments

Myanmar’s ancient ornaments are on full display in the third hall of the museum, personal jewellery worn by ancient women of Myanmar is placed for exhibition. As example is an ear ornament from the 18th century A.D., known as ‘Nadaung’, a cylindrical plug worn by pushing it into the pierced earlobe.

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Buddha Images

On the fourth floor are halls for the Buddha Images and for the display of the culture of the ethnic races of Myanmar. The Buddha images include those which dates back to the Pyu Period and up to the present day.

The fourth floor of the museum is dedicated to the images of Buddha and there are several halls reserved for them. The images include those that are as old as the ancient Pyu Period as well as the ones of later eras. Besides, images of Buddha, the halls also exhibit the culture of the ancient races of Myanmar.

A Quick Recap

Now a recap of the National Museum Myanmar, the galleries are divided into following theses:

  • Myanmar Epigraphy and Calligraphy
  • Lion Throne
  • Yadanapon Period
  • Royal Regalia
  • Myanmar Historic Period
  • Myanmar Prehistoric period and Protohistoric period
  • Natural History
  • Myanmar Traditional Folk Art
  • Myanmar Performing
  • Myanmar Art Gallery (1) and (2)
  • Myanmar Ancient Ornaments
  • Buddha Images
  • The Culture of National Peace
  • Twelve national objectives and National Building Endeavors

Type of Collection in the Museum

Stone, primate fossils, bronze, iron, silver, paintings, sketches, Myanmar ancient ornaments of gold and precious gemstones from contemporary periods, ancient Buddha statues made of stone, gold , silver, lead, bronze, wood, fabric, leather, palm-leaf, musical instruments , marionettes, royal regalia and many others.

The National Museum Myanmar is an impressive and vast collection of precious and rare stone slabs with carved inscriptions, paintings from the stone age and the modern era, fossils of millions of years old and cultural artifacts if ancient Myanmar people. The museum is a great place to study the history of Burma and once you have visited it, you will have a better understanding if this land of wonders.

The National Museum is one of the best tourist attractions in Myanmar. Have you visited the National Museum in Myanmar? Please comment and let us know of the other things you saw there.

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