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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fort St. George Museum, Chennai - 116

An impressive collection of portraits and paintings of former governors of Chennai as well as British royalty. Weapons, coins, porcelain and communion vessels of the church are also on display.

The Fort St. George Museum was organized and opened to the public from 31st January 1948. The museum began with a small collection of objects of the British Raj donated by the then Madras Presidency Government, the St. Mary's Church authorities, the disbanded army units and others. Over the years many objects were acquired by various means and there are now 3661 registered antiquities in the collection. Best among them (602) are on display in ten galleries.

The building housing the museum is one of the oldest surviving buildings built within the fort. The building was completed in 1795 and served as the location for Madras Bank. The museum building has a history of its own.

The antiquities are displayed in ten galleries spread over three floors. An imposing marble statue of Lord Cornwallis (1738-1805) greets the visitors. The statue, carved by Thomas Banks, was financed by funds raised from the public, depicts the scene of surrender of two sons of Tippu as hostages The lobby contains drawings showing the stages of constructions and renovations from 1640 onwards.

Besides the above various coins issued by the 'presidential and unified mints of the British, Dutch, Portuguese and Danish are on display in the coin Gallery.

In the Reserve Collection there are a number antiquities among which mention may be made of the First Marriage Register of the St. Mary's Church recording the marriage of Robert Clive, the bible used by Strenysham Master, who was instrumental in the construction of the church.

You can visit here from 10.00 am to 05.00 pm and entry fees of Rs. 5/- for Indians, $2 or Rs. 100/- for others.

Tel.: 5671127

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