The National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, popularly known as the National Crafts Museum & Hastkala Academy, celebrates the rich, diverse, and practising craft traditions of India.
Situated in a large campus at the corner of Pragati Maidan, opposite the majestic Purana Qila, the museum was designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa. At present the Museum collection consists of over 33000 specimens in various crafts, acquired over a period of 60 years collected from various states of India named as Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal. The collection reflects the continuing traditions of handicrafts and handlooms.
Museum collection consists of a variety of traditional artifacts such as textiles, a vast range of metal lamps, sculptures, utensils etc., wood-works, folk/tribal paintings, range of cane and bamboo crafts, clay and terracotta figures and a lot more. The exquisite examples of textiles include kalamkaris, jamawars, pashmina and shahtosh shawls, embroidered fabrics especially kanthas, chikankari works and chaklas tie and die (bandhani) fabrics, baluchar and jamdaani saris, pichwais, phulkaris, Ikat fabrics of Orissa, chamba rumals, block printed textile fabrics of Gujarat and Rajasthan, himru textile pieces of Maharashtra, naga shawls, chanderi saris and a variety of tribal textiles of the Lambadi, Toda and Naga tribes of Northeastern India.
The rare and finest specimens of traditional Indian handicrafts and handlooms are preserved with the objective that these would serve as source material for the revival, reproduction and development of Indian crafts. These source materials are meant for the master craftsmen, art-historians and craft designers along with the people who are interested to know our age-old cultural heritage. Museum is a special attraction for foreign tourists who wish to have a glimpse of our material culture.
Museum has a diverse and rare range of exquisite display of stone and wood carvings on the doors, windows, lintels and posts of the museum building. Folk and tribal paintings are sprawled on the wall canvas in the passages. Textiles and range of objects of cane bamboo, clay and terracotta metal, stone, wood and much more are displayed in five galleries, three courtyards and walk through passages of folk, tribal and traditional communities of India.
The Museum has a Village Complex which was formerly known as “Rural India Complex (Gram Jhanki)” was set up on the occasion of Asiad 1972 by the Development Commissioner for Handicrafts, All India Handicrafts Board.
Crafts Demonstration Program is the unique participatory activity. Here visitors can see 50 craftsperson every month from different parts of India. Shilp Kuteer, the craftsperson dormitory is their home for one month.
School groups visit the National Crafts Museum & Hastkala Academy from Tuesday to Sunday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. with prior information and confirmation of the visit on telephone or email.1A group of 100 students from a particular school can visit the Crafts Museum Galleries, Village Complex and Crafts Demonstration Area.
Apart from the permanent galleries there are two temporary galleries in the Museum, where temporary exhibitions are also held from time to time. National Crafts Museum & Hastkala Academy has four open theatres, which can been used for the cultural performances.
The National Crafts Museum & Hastkala Academy publishes catalogues relating to special exhibitions and some of the reports submitted in its Research and Documentation Programme. Details and past publications are available in the Reference Library.
The Lota shop is the selling outlet for a whole range of contemporary craft products, books etc. on art, craft and design. The shop is considered to be one of the best in the world. The shop also keeps the artefacts made by the crafts persons participating in the Craft Demonstration Programme after they are gone back.