The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), New Delhi was established in 1972 as one of the national level institutions set up during the silver jubilee celebrations of India's independence, to portray and promote awareness about the natural heritage of the country.
The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) opened its doors to the public on 5th June 1978, coinciding symbolically with the World Environment Day. The museum functions under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India. The National Museum of Natural History, an institution devoted to environmental education, derives its strength principally from theme-based exhibition galleries, experiential resource centers such as Discovery Room, Activity Room and Educational and Out-Reach Activities, with the intention to depict the country's rich natural heritage and natural history (Geology, Botany and Zoology).
The NMNH, New Delhi caters to the needs of visitors by the following services:
The NMNH, New Delhi has three exhibit galleries, namely
Introduction to Natural History (Gallery 1)
This gallery portrays the origin and evolution of life and presents the variety and diversity of the flora and fauna of our country. The presentation follows a section on evolutionary sequences and evidence to establish how present-day life evolved. Another section depicts the plants and animals in their natural habitat followed by pollination in flowers, plants and their uses, harmful and beneficial insects, camouflage, adaptation of terrestrial, aquatic and aerial life in animals, endangered animals etc. These sections not only provide useful information to the visitors but also serve as valuable resources in supplementing classroom teaching.
Nature's Network: Ecology (Gallery 2)
This gallery presents an overview of major ecosystems of the world, the role of plants as primary producers, food chains, food webs, decomposition, biogeochemical cycles, the interrelationship among plants, animals and human beings, present-day environmental problems such as pollution, deforestation, depletion of wildlife etc. and the reasons (ethical, aesthetic, economic and scientific) for conservation.
Conservation (Gallery 3)
This gallery deals with many aspects of the conservation of nature. A dramatic life-size diorama of a typical deciduous forest presents two contrasting views (one with a rich, balanced forest ecosystem and the other of denuded, deforested and barren terrain). That deforestation is the thoughtless exploitation of trees by human beings is presented symbolically through an oversized model of a human hand ruthlessly uprooting a tree. Exhibits that follow give a didactic view of the importance of trees in conserving soil. Conversely, deforestation leads to soil erosion, siltation of riverbeds and formation of wastelands. Other exhibits in the section show how valuable the tropical rain forests are for mankind. These forests are a rich repository of genetic and biological diversity, Subsequent sections of the gallery deal with depletion of wildlife, endangered species as well as conservation projects. The problem of pollution and the increasing pressure of human population on internal resources are some of the other themes presented through exhibits. Two exhibits that stand out are on Bishnois Community and Chipko Andolan.
To create environmental awareness and promote conservation education, it was decided during the VII Plan to have Regional Offices in the form of Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH) in different parts of the country in a phased manner so as to extend the activities of NMNH at regional and state levels.
The historical city of Mysore added another landmark with the opening of the Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH) on 20th May 1995. Located on the banks of Karanji Lake, and with the backdrop of Chamundi hills, the museum provides a unique opportunity to explore nature and the natural world through a judicious mix of models, translites, AV aids, diorama, thematic, interactive and participatory exhibits. The learning in the captivating environment of the museum is indeed fun and truly enjoyable.
The second RMNH was developed for the central region in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) in 1997. The museum deals with general aspects of natural history, depicts the flora, fauna and ecosystems of region and promotes conservation and environmental awareness through its exhibit galleries and educational activities.
The third Regional Museum in the eastern region of the country was established in Bhubaneswar (Orissa) and operationalised in 2004. Situated in the temple city of Bhubaneswar, Orissa, near Acharya Vihar Square on National Highway 5, this museum is yet another destination and a meaningful visit for students, adults and family members from all sections of society. The museum attempts to showcase the vibrant biodiversity of Orissa, the Northeast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands depicting their richness under one roof thereby making people aware of the natural heritage of the state and beyond. Extending the excellent facilities to the masses in order to make environmental education to the common man is the driving force behind the creation of the museum. It attempts to strike a chord with the common man and appraise him of the importance of natural bioresources and their conservation. After all, the survival of the common man is dependent on the conservation of our natural heritage.
RMNH, Sawai Madhopur
Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony of Rajiv Gandhi Regional Museum of Natural History Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan was done 23rd December 2007 and it became operational in March 2014. This museum is conceived to be a nonformal center for environmental education and creation of public awareness on conservation of nature and natural resources. The museum proposes to undertake the task of communication and creating public awareness through the potential medium of exhibits and educational activities. It would provide an understanding of the diversity of life on earth, the factors responsible for their wellbeing, man's dependence upon nature and the necessity to maintain our ecological heritage free from damage and destruction to ensure sustainable development, with special emphasis on the Western Arid region of India.
A fifth Regional Office in the north-eastern region is expected to be established soon in Gangtok (Sikkim).