A museum is a place where people can explore objects of great artistic, historical and scientific value. It is also a resource of information and knowledge about our history and cultural diversity. In Pakistan’s case, we have both – rich history and culture.
Whether you’re interested in the ancient civilization of Harappa or the Pakistan Air Force Jets, these 10 incredible museums of Pakistan showcase a lot of different sides to the country we love and grew up in.
Check out some of the best museums to visit in Pakistan:
Mohatta Palace, Karachi
The Mohatta Palace is located in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. The palace was built in 1927 as the summer home of Shivratan Mohatta, a Hindu Marwari businessman from what is now the modern-day Indian state of Rajasthan. In 1995, it was purchased by the Government of Sindh for its conversion into a museum devoted to the arts of Pakistan.
The museum themes change every quarter and display many different aspects of Pakistani Art and Culture. The vicinity also hosts the mausoleum complex of Abdullah Shah Ghazi, which is located on the Clifton beach and can be viewed from the south side of the Palace.
Army Museum Lahore
Army Museum was inaugurated by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on August 13, 2017. It was opened to the general public after a month.
It depicts the history and heritage of Pakistan Movement with sections dedicated to “Rebirth of a Nation”, “Shuhada Corner”, “Nishan-e-Haider Gallery”, “Kashmir Corner”, “Pakistan’s contributions in United Nations” and many others.
There are about 180 life-size dioramas, incredibly realistic sculptures, made by some of Pakistan’s best sculptors and artists.
Lok Virsa Heritage Museum, Islamabad
Lok Virsa Heritage Museum is a museum of history and culture, located on the Shakarparian Hills of Islamabad. It opened in 1974 and became an autonomous institute in 2002.
The museum consists of several buildings as well as an outdoor museum which can accommodate up to 3000 visitors.
There are many exhibits at Lok Virsa that showcase our living cultures, some of which include “Ethnology”, “Sufis and Shrine Hall”, “Lok Virsa Library” and many more.
This museum is home to a significant and comprehensive collection of Gandharan art dating from the 1st to the 7th centuries CE. Most objects in the collection were excavated from the ruins of ancient Taxila. Construction of Taxila museum started in 1918 and was concluded in 1928.
There are some 4000 objects displayed here, including stone, stucco, terracotta, silver, gold, iron, and semiprecious stones. Mainly the display consists of objects from the period 600 B.C to 500 AD. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions are well represented through these objects discovered from three ancient cities and more than two dozen Buddhist stupas and monasteries and Greek temples in the region.
Pakistan Railway Museum – Golra Sharif
The Railway Heritage Museum was established in October 2003. From relics dating back to the inception of railways in the subcontinent by the British to memorabilia depicting the creation of the museum are housed and preserved in this heritage site.
This museum consists of three different halls that feature artifacts reflecting the history of railway over a period of more than 150 years including almost 100 years of the subcontinent.
National Museum of Pakistan, Karachi
The National Museum of Pakistan was established in Frere Hall on 17 April 1950, replacing the defunct Victoria Museum.
In 1970 there were only four galleries in the Museum. Over time the museum grew, with the building currently housing a total of eleven galleries including a “Quran Gallery”.
The National Museum has more than 300 copies of the Quran, out of which around 52 rare manuscripts are on display. The Museum also contains an important collection of items relating to Pakistan’s cultural heritage. Some other galleries display Indus Civilization artifacts, Gandhara Civilization Sculptures, Islamic Art, Miniature Paintings, Ancient Coins, and Manuscripts documenting Pakistan’s political history.
PAF Museum, Karachi
The museum was established in 1990 in two unused hangars in a remote part of the Base. It was expanded significantly from its humble beginnings in the period 1999–2004. A majority of the aircraft, weapons, and radar are displayed outside in the park but the main museum features all major fighter aircraft that have been used by the Pakistan Air Force.
The museum also houses the Vickers VC.1 Viking aircraft used by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan.
Lahore Museum was originally established in 1865-66 on the site of the current Tollinton Market – a hall built for the 1864 Punjab Exhibition. The museum’s collection was later shifted in 1894 to its present location on The Mall.
It has a number of Greco-Buddhist sculptures, Mughal and Pahari paintings on display. The collection contains important relics from the Indus Valley civilization, Gandhara, and Graeco-Bactrian periods as well.
State Bank of Pakistan Museum, Karachi
The State Bank of Pakistan museum was established in 2004. It is the first Monetary Museum of Pakistan.
The current State Bank of Pakistan Museum & Art Gallery building, which was previously the Imperial Bank of India, was constructed in the 1920s by the British government. In 2004, the State Bank of Pakistan decided to adapt the building as a museum, and work on the projects started in 2006 was devoted to conservation of the building and acquisition of the collection.
Archaelogical/Harappa Museum, Harappa
The museum was established in 1926. It is famous for the relics from the ancient city of Harappa. Harappa was first identified as ruins of an ancient city in 1826 by a British Army deserter, James Lewis, posing as an American engineer named Charles Masson.
Some of the major finds on display include seals, games, weights, pottery and figurines of all sorts.