The Nagpur Central Museum, popularly known as Ajab Bangla, is located in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. Established in 1863, Nagpur Central Museum is one of the oldest museums in India and Maharashtra. It holds important artifacts such as dinosaurs’ fossils, coins, ancient inscriptions, sculptures, arms, tribal artifacts from per-historic to the modern time. The Nagpur Central Museum is the oldest and largest museum in the Central India region.
The idea of founding a museum at Nagpur was first recommended by the antiquarian society of the Central Provinces in 1862. Under instruction of Sir Richard Temple, then the Chief commissioner of the Central Province, a committee was constituted for establishment of museum and library at Nagpur. Based on the committee’s plan, Nagpur Central Museum was established in 1863. Spearheaded by Sir Richard Temple, the royal families in the central India, native chiefs, landlord and all the district holders took a great interest in collection of the rare objects for the newly formed museum. The collections were enriched by acquiring exhibits from the exhibitions held at Nagpur and Jabalpur in 1865-66. Collection in the museum was sourced from Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha, Madhya Pradesh and even some parts of Western Maharashtra.
After its inception the museum was under care of the Director of Public Instruction of the Central Province; but in 1883, it was transferred to the Director of Agriculture. In 1919, the museum was again transferred to the department of Industries. Since the independence in 1947, the museum activities are mostly directed towards reorganizing of the galleries on the modern line. Presently, the museum is under control of the Director of Archaeology and Museum, Government of Maharashtra.
Recently, the Central Museum has undergone a major renovation work, which include provisions for gardens and a cafeteria. As a part of digitization drive, 10 interactive information kiosks are now installed in the museum. The Central Museum is the first museum in Maharashtra to install Quick Response (QR) Code in display galleries, which provide information about artifacts in Marathi, Hindi, English and 13 foreign languages. However, due to inadequacy of display facilities and galleries several important artifacts are still locked within the reserve collection.