Dinajpur Museum

Dinajpur Museum was established in April 1968 in a temporary corrugated tin shed building adjacent to the Khwaja Nazimuddin Muslim Hall and Library. In the month of May a gallery was also opened to exhibit the collected artefacts of the museum. AKM Zakariah, the then' Deputy Commissioner of Dinajpur first took initiative in 1967 to establish the museum. He arranged a meeting of local elites with the persons more closely related to the development activities of the museum, Syed Mosharraf Hossain, Principal Mokarram Hossain Mahmud and Mehrab Ali, in 'Khwaja Nazimudddin Muslim Hall and Library of which he was the ex-officio president. A seven members executive committee was also set up. AKM Zakaria, and Principal Mokarram Hosain Mahmud became the ex-officio president and secretary of the museum committee respectively.

In mid-July1968 the Museum first participated in the excavation work of Sitakot Vihara at Nawabgonj thana in Dinajpur district jointly with the Directorate of Archaeology of the then East Pakistan. By 1969 the number of collections stood over 800. During the 1971 Liberation War the museum was almost completely destroyed, its stone sculptures broken and metallic articles looted. At that time the artifacts that were found missing from the museum were' stone sculptures, bronze statues,' brass statues, wooden statues, stone pillars, arches and other stone objects, terracotta picture plates, ornamented old bricks, old coins, old weapons, inscriptions engraved in Bengali, Arabic and Persian, brick inscriptions, documents and credentials in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Bengali and English, brick manuscripts in Bengali and Sanskrit manuscript of the Holy Quran, old pictures, old furniture and metallic utensils, artifacts recovered from the Sitakot excavations and other archaeological some unidentified stone relics.

With a donation of taka fifteen lac from the Norwegian Organisation for Relief And Development (NORAD) a two-storied museum building was constructed (1983-85) on the southern side of the tin shed structure. The museum gallery is housed in the ground floor and the upper floor is being used as the library. At present there are 1313' archaeological objects in the museum. These are sculptures (Hindu 99, Buddhist 3, Jaina 2, fragmented 64, others 9), coins (colonial 674, Pakistani 90, Punched mark 6, Indian 17, foreign 23), inscriptions (stone 14, terracotta 10), small objects (terracotta 16, pottery 4 and decorated bricks 102), miscellaneous objects (terracota 17, stone objects 17, Liberation War relics 83, wooden objects 2, potshreds 2, medals 6, bamboo objects 4, photography 3 and others 45). [M Maniruzzaman]