Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/497

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PSM V71 D497 Hall of indian mammals in kolkata museum.png

Fig. 8. Calcutta. Hall of Indian Mammals.

At the time of the opening of the new museum (about 1890) the collections of the Asiatic Society were transferred to the British government. They comprised principally three classes of objects, zoological, ethnological and archeological, the last of unique importance. They include the antiquities secured by Colonel Mackenzie from the Amravatitope (1796 and 1816), and the collections of the Tytlers, Kittoe and General Cunningham. The last named investigator, one of the founders of the museum, secured for it also the objects from the Bharhut stupa. The entire collection thus contains in large measure the figured specimens in Indian archeology and it is especially rich in the finds from the neighborhood of Lucknow, Nagpore, Benares and Delhi. The ethnological cabinet is based upon the collection of Roer, whose catalogue dates from 1843. By 1882 no less than 600 crania were listed. The zoological division of the museum is based upon the Blyth collection of the Asiatic Society. As early as 1862 there were represented 600 species of mammals, 2,000 species of birds, 300 of reptiles, and 1,000 of mollusks; and since this time the zoological collection has increased vastly. Figs. 8, 9, 10.

The Calcutta museum expanded notably about two decades ago, when it incorporated two allied institutions. The first of these was the economic museum of the government of Bengal (added in 1887), whose collections are arranged in separate galleries, and the second, the collections of the geological survey, these added (about 1890) when the public museum was opened. The subsidy. for the latter institutions, it may be mentioned, is separate from that of the main museum, about 40,000 rupees a year being granted by the government for their annual support. And a similar appropriation is made for the remainder of the museum.