Founded with a modest collection, the museum has a
record of steady growth and its present holding exceeded 100,000.
The collection includes archaeological materials, paintings, textiles
and costumes, decorative art, personalia collections, Indian philately
and literary and archival materials. Most of its collections are
historically important, aesthetically beautiful and enjoy certain
amount of uniqueness. However, the name and fame of this University
Museum justly rests on its priceless collection of Indian paintings.
An eminent art historian once declared that the museum possesses
one of the greatest collection of miniature paintings. Though the
museums target visitors are university students, alumni, research
scholars and teachers, it also serves as a Regional Museum and caters
to the need of a huge number of lay visitors.
A few estimations of very important visitors :
Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, visited
this museum thrice and in his last visit, he inscribed that Sangraha
bahut achchha hai the collection is very good.
He was also kind enough to publish an appeal in his journal Young
India in 1941 to the nation and wrote that the appeal should
receive a generous response from all lovers of art. He was appealing
to like minded Indians to donate either in cash or in terms of art
objects for the upcoming institution of cultural heritage. Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation of the present building of
this museum and he also donated this institution to the nation in
1962. He expressed with utter joy that whenever he visited the museum,
the collections pleased him. He also predicted that in course of
time it would be an art museum with huge collection. Netaji Subhash
Chandra Bose commented, after going round the museum that
'I am delighted to visit this wonderful institution.
May God grant this institution a career of increasing prosperity'.
H. Cousin, an art historian, visited this museum in 1936 and said
that 'such a museum and art gallery at the heart of Aryavarta
is a priceless legacy not only to India but to a world culture'.
Sir Leonard Wolley, the famous archaeologist said, I have
greatly enjoyed my visit to this museum and Sir Mortimer
Wheeler, the great archaeologist remarked that 'the museum had
one of the greatest collection of Indian paintings and he hoped
that it should be a universal centre of pilgrimage'. Almost
similar sentiments were predicted by Acharya Nandalal Bose who after
going round the collection did forecast that 'it would be a place
of pilgrimage to all artists'. On the occasion of Golden Jubilee
of Bharat Kala Bhavan Art and Archaeological Museum of Banaras
Hindu University a special feature was published under the title
Golden Jubilee in SPAN Vol. XI, No. 6 June 1970 in which
the distinctive features of the Museum were highlighted.
Bharat Kala Bhavan is considered as the best University
Museum in India, if not in Asia. There is no university in India
which has a museum of this dimension. There are approximately six
hundred museums in India today and even among these museums of diverse
nature Bharat Kala Bhavan has permanently carved its niche and is
being considered among the seven-eight best museums in the country.
The museum is fully dedicated to the cause of higher education and
multidisciplinary researches. The academic possibilities of this
museum being immense, it has acquired the status of a university
museum of national importance.