31 Museums in Delhi That Are Not Just Places To Visit But Treasures

Vidhi Verma
Nov 28, 2020 13 min read

Delhi has been India’s reservoir for the best collection of history, galleries, and museums. For many many decades, it has seen powers change, rulers come and go, history in progress. As of today, these museums are among the popular tourist places to visit in Delhi. The idea of museums may sound boring to some but wait till you have had a look at some of the best ones, the appropriate expression would be a gasp! 

The museums in Delhi are full of masterpieces you would have never imagined. Every material that exists there holds a significance in history, to lead us to today. It is also a perfect time to catch up on Indian’s rich and cultural history to make sure you know all the important talks about your country. However, if you’re a keen history enthusiast then these museums will be a complete transformation for you.

India has always been full of surprises and richness in culture, wealth, leadership, education, etc. Art lovers, history hunters, and culture seekers will all find something to suit their tastes in Delhi’s museums. Besides, various Delhi museums dedicated to the memory of eminent personalities who contributed to shaping current India also dot the geography of Delhi. 

All you need now is a list of spots that should be on your itinerary the next time you visit the capital city of India. Here’s a list of all the unique museums in Delhi which you can explore while you are heading to see the best places to visit in Delhi!

1. National Museum

The national museum in Delhi is known to be a great place to know about the interesting facts about the country and its diverse history. It is an excellent place to visit and spend some time with friends and family. Thus, it is quite popular as a tourist place to visit in Delhi. 

To think, Harappa Civilisation left us with relics, artifacts from the Silk Route, war memorabilia, and a fantastic collection of miniature paintings. The museum also has over 2,00,000 works of art, both Indian and foreign, from the last 5,000 years. You’ll learn about the ancient Indus site, you'll glimpse at the iconic Dancing Girl sculpture, and revel in the impressive coin collection on site.

You might want to set aside an afternoon to enjoy the free movie screenings focusing on art that the museum screens.

2. National Handicraft Handloom Museum

This museum in Delhi is a very special one, it holds the importance of being the home to all handicraft and handloom, and the history of the same. The beauty of this place is commendable since it holds all precious forms of art and is definitely a great place to visit in Delhi. 

India’s prosperity lied in the hands of its common people which in turn came from the originality and creativity of Indian artisans. It holds the significance of all ancient paintings, sculptures, textiles, handlooms, etc. It’s a great place to start with when looking for understanding India a little better. It is also known to be some of the popular tourist places in Delhi. It is also known as the National Craft museum. 

3. National Gallery Of Modern Art

To browse through some of the country’s best artworks, head to the National Gallery of Modern Art. After looking through the permanent collection, lodged in the new wing, take home a replica of your favorite pieces as fridge magnets and posters, all available in the souvenir shop. You can finish off your visit by stepping outside into the lawns for a tour of the sculpture garden, replete with works in stone and bronze. 

Once being around the entire museum you will realize it happens to be a wonderful tourist place to visit in Delhi. Being a premier art gallery under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India; The National Gallery of Modern Art is one of the world’s largest modern art museums to visit in Delhi with more than 14, 000 works by renowned and reputed Indian and foreign artists of worldwide fame.

4. Rail Museum

National Rail Museum has both outdoor and indoor exhibits with a toy train ride which allows visitors to cover the entire museum on regular days. Home to a fascinating collection of more than 100 real size exhibits of the Indian Railways, one can find displays of static and working models, historical photographs, antique furniture, and signaling equipment in this best museum in Delhi. This museum is also a popular site among tourists as it exhibits the history of rail transportation in India in the most engaging way possible, visiting here a treat. 

5. Kiran Nadar Museum of Art

The 3,159-square-metre (34,000-square-foot) museum built by art collector and philanthropist Kiran Nadar is a relatively new establishment, opening in 2010, but has already earned an excellent reputation within the Indian arts circle. The art museum in Delhi hosts a core collection of 20th-century Indian painters and frequently holds critically acclaimed art, architecture, and photography exhibitions by contemporary artists.

6. Sulabh International Museum of Toilets

The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets is as quirky as they come but space makes an earnest case by reminding us of what Gandhi said: “Sanitation is more important than independence.” Historicizing what was once considered the “job of the untouchables,” museum founder Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak is also an activist and sociologist, whose "marshaling even the minutest details about the development of toilet system in the world led to the establishment of this unique museum in 1992." 

When the TIME magazine called it one of the weirdest museums of the world, the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets probably took it as a compliment. The museum traces the history and development of toilets around the globe and even houses a collection of toilet-related poems. The objective behind this unusual idea is to raise awareness about sanitation issues in the country. These unique ideas are assets to the nation and a global attraction, being a remarkable tourist place to visit in Delhi.

7. Indian War Memorial Museum

If you are planning to visit Red Fort, you must take a tour of this museum located inside its campus. The museum is dedicated to those Indian soldiers who had participated in the World War, it is known to be a great source of history related to our brave soldiers. For every Indian, this museum is an important place to visit in Delhi. The museum encompasses several intriguing galleries that have a wide range of objects. It is also among the famous tourist places to visit in Delhi.

These objects range from various kinds of weapons used in those times to the costumes worn by the soldiers and Maharajas. Besides, there are a couple of galleries dedicated to some other items used in the war. This museum is a must-visit place for any history buff.

8. Shankar's International Dolls Museum

Being an immensely large collection of Dolls in the nation’s capital, this Museum in Delhi was set up by K. Shankar Pillai, a political cartoonist. This is one of those Delhi museums that you should definitely visit with kids. Shankar’s International Dolls Museum is another museum in the capital city with a unique concept as a large collection of dolls can be found here. 

It is one of the best places to visit in Delhi for youngsters to enjoy. The museum claims to have in store a total of 6,000 dolls which are from 85 different countries. There is a separate section featuring a collection of 500 Indian dolls wearing ethnic clothes.

9. Museo Camera

With gorgeous, bulky cameras sitting pretty on glass display cases {that are themselves packed to the brim with more recognizable cameras from the 70s and 80s}, a fascinating collection of original photos from the Partition-era and a knowledgeable, and friendly, collector-curator in Arya, Museo Camera is a must-visit location for photographers – young and old, professional or amateur.

10. Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum

This is India’s first underground museum complex, one that offers a look at the presidential residence alongside a run through the country’s history: expect key historical moments to be revisited via wax statues, gardens, and the use of high-end technology to explore the causes and implications of the freedom struggle.

11. Sanskriti Museums

This is a three-in-one experience that includes the Museum of Everyday Art, the Museum of Indian Terracotta, and the Textile Museum. The first involves interesting collections concerning the daily lives of Indians, the second showcases the art form in its many constructs and uses while the latter explores and studies Indian textile traditions. A mix of these three has known to become a must-visit place in Delhi.

12. Charkha Museum

This tiny new museum in the heart of the city is unmistakable for its large, stainless steel spinning wheel, an iconic symbol of Mahatma Gandhi, and his call to support homespun Indian fabrics over British colonial imports. Inside is a collection of antique charkhas (spinning wheels), each donated by Indian citizens and dating from 1912 to 1977. 

13. Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

A museum with a library? What else do those who crave knowledge need? This Delhi museum and library dedicated to the first Prime Minister of independent India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, aims to preserve and reconstruct the bits and pieces of the history of the Independence Movement of India. 

The museum was established in 1964 and is maintained by the Ministry of Culture. The fascinating architecture, the collection of rare books, and the lifelike exhibits here will take you to the era when the nation was struggling to secure independence.

14. National Science Center

For science enthusiasts or those wanting to learn more about India’s science and technology heritage, the National Science Centre is the place to be. The museum has several exhibition galleries, including the Hall of Nuclear Power, Emerging Technologies Gallery, and Fun Science Gallery. 

The museum is an especially great learning experience for children, with the majority of its visitors being students. It not only acts as a great tool for education but also serves as a great medium to be introduced as an activity emerging as a must-visit place in Delhi.

15. Gandhi Smriti

Often listed as Delhi’s top museum, Gandhi Smriti is inside Birla House, where Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi spent his last few days before being assassinated on-premise. The site now showcases some of his possessions and a whole lot of his philosophy. 

Quotations, sculptures, and multimedia presentations pay a fitting tribute to the values of peace, non-violence, and independence that earned Gandhi the title of Mahatma (“great soul”). Pro tip: Head to the National Gandhi Museum for a larger collection of Gandhi’s belongings.

16. Indian Airforce Museum

Among the extensive range of museums in Delhi, this one is dedicated to the Air Force of the country. Located at the Palam Air Force Station in Delhi, this museum has on exhibit a large collection of armory and airplanes in addition to uniforms and historical photographs.

A visit to this museum will impart you some interesting information about the nation’s Air Force and its history. Offering a unique experience through organized galleries, this museum is also a renowned site among tourists visiting Delhi.

17. National Philatelic Museum

The most interesting Indian stories are told here through stamps dating all the way back to 1947 (sadly, the collection stops at 2014). Stop by the souvenir shop to buy a stamp book and start pasting away on your way to the Metro Museum, also by Patel Chowk, a fun museum for children as well. 

Amongst all museums in Delhi, this one is immensely popular and interesting. Operated by the Department of Post, the National Philatelic Museum is known for its amphitheater, library, and display of postage stamps. An area has also been dedicated to people to view artists at work.

18. Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum

This museum lies inside the former residence of the controversial and only female prime minister, Indira Gandhi. She is one of the most prominent personalities to exist in India. In 1984, she was assassinated by her bodyguards in the garden of this residence. The museum has preserved many of her possessions, including the sari she was wearing when she was shot. A small area in the museum is devoted to her son Rajiv, who was killed by a suicide bomber in 1991.

19. Red Fort Archaeological Museum

This Archaeological Museum is home to some of the most exquisite artifacts, paintings, fabrics, and calligraphy related to the Mughal era and is under the aegis of the Archaeological Survey of India. Some relics of the 1857 war such as weapons and maps can also be found in these best museums in Delhi.

20. Ghalib Museum

Mirza Ghalib (1796-1869) is one of the most influential Urdu poets in the world. Known as the last great poet of the Mughal era, Ghalib started composing poems when he was just 11 years old. Part of the Ghalib Academy, the Ghalib Museum pays homage to the 19th-century poet who wrote about unfulfilled love and also captured the twilight years of the Mughal empire in beautiful verses. 

Along with Ghalib’s poetry, the museum also has paintings by artists such as MF Hussain and Satish Gujral. This little quiet destination is hidden in Old Delhi’s Ballimaran quarter clearly captures something of the soul of the Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, arguably India’s finest. Not to be mistaken with Ghalib’s Museum at the Ghalib Academy, space comprises two rooms filled with tributes to the artist, including the books with his handwriting in Urdu that are displayed in a case near his bust. The place is hard to find so make sure to ask for directions while on foot.

21. National Children’s Museum

This is a unique educational museum in Delhi especially for children and is home to a plethora of jewelry, toys, dolls, and musical instruments. It mainly aims to enhance creativity amongst children of all ages and also holds regular workshops and classes on creative arts.

22. Sangeet Natak Akademi Museum

Founded by the government's Ministry of Culture, the Sangeet Natak Akademi houses 600 musical instruments, mostly from India, 250 of which are on display in the gallery of musical instruments. Classified into the wind, string, and percussion-related objects, a lot of these instruments, plenty of folk and tribal origins, are no longer played. 

Peruse the rest of the space to admire a fine collection of masks and puppets. This museum is one of a kind and is surely something a person would must-visit to have an amazing experience.

23. Doctor Zakir Hussain Museum

Words seem to fall short so as to describe the great deeds and tremendous efforts put in by this intellectual after whom this museum is named, Zakir Hussain. The museum finds its place in the premises of the institution and honors the remarkable works of the late President of India. 

In the first place, the tourist spot in Delhi was constructed as a mausoleum in the year 1972, which with the coming years became a museum housing the essentials of Dr.Zakir Husain. Mementos, memorabilia, and photographs of Zakir Husain are put on display for the public who want to know more about the educationist.

24. Tribal Museum

Get familiar with the vibrant shades of tribal life by visiting this Delhi museum. Apart from housing a collection of artifacts that depict the lifestyle and culture of various tribes of India, the museum also aims to uplift them by creating awareness pertaining to their struggles and it is one of the famous Delhi Museums.

The museum was built in 1948 with the objective to improve the situation for the neglected sections of society. A visit to this museum will bring you a good deal of knowledge about the subject.

25. Supreme Court Museum

A museum that is ideal for everyone, the Supreme Court of India Museum is a must-visit place in Delhi. This museum is one of the most significant museums in Delhi because it depicts the legal heritage of the country. 

From important files and photographs to rare objects and artifacts, a lot is on display to let the visitors absorb some important details about the history of the Supreme Court of India. A visit to this place with kids will be a great learning experience for them.

26. Tibet House Museum

Founded in 1965 by Dalai Lama, Tibet House encompasses within its fine building an art museum and a library. This museum is a window through which you can come across various aspects of Tibetan Culture and its history in India. 

The galleries of the famous tourist place museum are decorated with vibrant Tibetan paintings. A variety of other artifacts depicting the rich art and culture of Tibet are on display here. The library has, apart from precious manuscripts, a range of books available that will allow you to take out comprehensive research on Tibetan Culture.

27. Metro Museum

Delhi Metro is the most important aspect of transportation in Delhi, and a visit to this Delhi museum will definitely surprise you with some great details about it. Located at Patel Chowk Metro Station, this museum is small but intriguing nonetheless.  

The Metro Museum in Delhi is South Asia’s first museum of its kind. The gallery at the museum features a collection of display panels, miniature models, and historical photographs that will let you gain some insights into the functioning and work culture at DMRC. You can also book Delhi tour packages to explore Delhi and tourist attractions.

28. National Police Museum 

The latest and unique addition in the extensive list of museums in Delhi, National Police Museum was inaugurated by the current prime minister Narendra Modi in October 2018. The museum is, as the name hints, dedicated to the central and state police forces of India.

Various artifacts, uniforms, gear, etc. used by the policemen are kept on display at the museum. The objective behind establishing the museum is to make the public aware of the history and other aspects of the police force.

29. Nehru Planetarium

If you went to school in Delhi, you’ve probably been here. Nehru Planetarium, another popular tourist place in Delhi, was set up with the aim of promoting astronomy education, especially for children.

 A wing of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, the planetarium prides itself on live shows on the space and other interactive programs. It is known to be one of the most important museums in Delhi for the children while growing up.

30. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Another place which enjoys equal fame as a tourist attraction in Delhi, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is an enjoyable place worth visiting with family. Life-size statues of some iconic personalities from across the globe sculpted by the famous sculptor Marie Tussaud are on display in this Delhi museum. 

From Shahrukh Khan to Sachin Tendulkar, you will find them all here under one roof. Your entire family will enjoy getting clicked alongside celebrities here.

31. Election Museum

This fascination of Delhi museums is being built on some unique concepts, Election Museum is one of them. From making people aware of the importance of participating in the election to maintain democracy to educating them about the timeline of elections in the country, this museum is a great place you can visit with your family and friends to learn something new.

Delhi is the country’s capital and has been observed to have turned into a small heterogeneous place with a mix of all cultures and customs. The best thing, however, is the number of places it has for tourist attractions. 

Some of the classic places to visit in Delhi are famous museums where one can not only learn about the country but also see the mixed trend and pattern from its original root. The museums in Delhi are the bliss of mix in their niches. Each one has got something great to show and from a whole new perspective.

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