In 1887. as the result of a public subscription to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Her Late Majesty Queen Victoria, the present building was commenced. Its foundation stone was laid in 1890 by His Royal Highness, Albert Victor, the then Prince of Wales. After the completion of the building. if was opened to the public in 1894 with Mr. Fred H. Andrews as its First Curator. The material displayed in six sections was more or less collections of mineral, agricultural and industrial specimens with a part of ancient objects of archaeology and arts.
Later on, the Museum was converted into a cultural and historical institution. At the time of the partition. its collections suffered badly due to the transfer of the divided objects to India. After 1965, a special campaign was launched to renovate the building and improve the collections. Various new galleries like Join Temple. Join, Ethnological I & II. Struggle for Freedom. Pakistan Postage Stamps. Manuscripts and Calligraphy. Contemporary Handicrafts, Coins and Medals have been added to the Museum in a very short span of period.
At present Lahore Museum is the largest museum in the county. It plays a vital role not only in introducing the national culture and history to the nationals and foreigners but also stands a great educational centre. The original six sections have now swollen to twenty-three.
The collection has grown through pur-chases, acquisition and donation.
The collections range from prehistoric to modern times. Its pre-historic section comprises material relating to Early Stone Age in the Soon Valley. Objects from Mehr Garh, Rohri, Amri, Jalilpur, Kot Diji and Cholistan show different phases of cultural development in the pre-Indus time. The material from Harappa and Moenjodaro reveals the advanced set up of human life during the proto-historic period. The statue of Fasting Buddha is said to be one of the wonders of the world. The Islamic collection displays the cultural achievements in the fields of miniature paintings. manuscripts. calligraphy, architecture, crafts i.e. wood work, papier-mache. arms, carpets. shawls, textiles, ivory. Ceramics and jewelry. Manuscripts collection contains specimens of Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Punjabi, Pashtu, Turki, Sindhi, Hindi languages etc.
The wood work collection is the largest collection in any Pakistani institution, The arms collection is also a single effort in the field. The collection comprising thirty five thousand Coins and Medals ranging from the earliest issues of Punch Marked coins down to the modern coins of Pakistan is a remarkable treasure in the Museum.
The Museum Library is stocked with about 35,000 books and archival material of historical nature. The material of Pakistan movement is also invaluable, The facility of micro-film and micro-fish reader-cum-printer, and photostat is available for the research scholars and students. Museum Laboratory equipped with modern and latest conservation facilities and foreign-trained staff looks after the conservation of paper, textiles, wood, metal, coins and other hard and perishable material in the museum collections.
For conducting the Education programme an Auditorium, a Committee Room and educational equipment have been provided. Trained staff helps in the maintenance of the Museum and facilitate research scholars as well as students.
(Contributed by Director. Lahore Museum, Lahore)
To commemorate the celebration of Centenary Lahore Museum, Pakistan Post is issuing a stamp of Rs. 4/- denomination on December 27, 1994.