In the heart of the Punjab’s provincial capital Lahore; lies a catalogue of its illustrious and often tainted past. The Lahore Museum in itself has captured the essence of the great diverse history of the city; giving on lookers a feel of all that it went through to reach to this point and imparting key historical lessons to the youth of today. Standing proud for over a hundred years The Lahore Museum signifies the past, present and future of the one mighty city of the Mughal Empire.
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The imposing two storey building of The Lahore Museum was constructed in 1887 to serve as a memorial for the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, although the beginning of the museum can be traced back as far as 1864. The Lahore exhibition, a part of the successful London exhibition of 1851 was held at the exhibition hall which later was called Tolliton`s market. And in the later of the 19th century became a part of the current museum. The building is a perfect example of Anglo-Mughal architecture. The current structure was designed by Lockwood Kipling and Bhai ram Singh. This was the first building ever to be designed especially as a museum.
The students of the Mayo school took deep interest in the designing, building and the interior of the museum structure. The museum houses a vast collection archeological goods and it also boosts a number of painting from different regions and era`s ranging from Mughal to Sikhs and the British. There are also some fine works of wood of Mughal and Sikhs in the museum. The relics from graeco-bactrian era and Nepalese and Tibetan works are a great attraction and so is the great coin collection of the museum. The coin collection is extensive, comprising of coins from Mughal and Hellenistic times.
There are also a good number of coins that were part of private collections but were later purchased by the government of Punjab to expand the catalogue of The Lahore Museum, and the government was gracious enough to maintain these collections as well as having its own coin collection. The Museum hosts a lot of fascinating statues of Buddha; one specially attracts a lot of attention because of its portrayal of the famous fasting Buddha. This particular statue has drawn a lot of interest from the international Buddhist community, particularly the Japanese, for whom Buddha is sacred.
With all the interest, the statue has also drawn a lot of aid for the museum that has been utilized in improving it further. The Lahore Museum stands as a silent witness of the all that our country has been through. It has stood there in the heart of the city watching all the testing times we have had, and it has now become a symbol of perseverance for us. The museum has become more then just an archive of history, it has become more then just a red bricked building, it has become an inspiration of unity, a safeguard of the heritage and art of our nation, and the modern and religious history of our people. It has become Pakistan itself.