WALKING THE FOOTSTEPS OF GOAN MUSEUMS: An International Museum Day Edition

From the melancholic verses of a dead poet to the anguished brushstrokes of a tortured artist, art embodies a spectrum of emotions—melancholy, despair, anguish, pain, doubt, hatred, love, compassion, desire, and euphoria—that collectively metamorphose into the rich histories housed within museums. To preserve these museums is to perpetuate the legacy of the artist. As the world commemorates International Museum Day on May 18th, Goa boasts a remarkable array of museums that underscore its cultural heritage.

Goa’s museums provide a diverse cultural infrastructure, highlighting the state’s deep-rooted heritage that spans centuries. The Department of Tourism promotes Goan culture, drawing audiences with innovative concepts. On the 47th International Museum Day, let’s explore some of Goa’s most celebrated museums.


Established in 1973, the Archaeology and Museum unit in Goa has transitioned through various locations before settling in the historic Old Secretariat in Panaji in 2017, also known as the Adilshah Palace. The museum preserves and centralizes cultural antiquities and art objects, ranging from the Padmanabha to Hopkinson and Copes’ Printing Press from 1860.


Known as “Bigfoot,” the Ancestral Goa Museum offers captivating insights into rural Goan life. Located in Loutolim village and curated by artist Mahendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares, it showcases local and national artwork, authentic Goan handicrafts, and attractions like the Boca da Vaca spring. A highlight is the impressive Sant Mirabai statue and a model village.


Situated near the Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Velha Goa, this museum features significant artefacts from the Portuguese era in India. Divided into eight galleries, it includes portraits of Viceroys and Governors of Goa, stamps, religious artefacts, and more, providing a window into Goa’s history from prehistoric times to Portuguese rule. Established by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1964, it was expanded in 1982.


Located in Old Goa’s Convent of Santa Monica, the Museum of Christian Art (MoCA) is renowned globally for its fusion of Indian and European cultures. Its exhibits showcase Indo-Portuguese influences. The museum underwent a significant upgrade from 2017-2020, modernizing its facilities to global standards and preserving its unique collection through INTACH’s conservation efforts.


Located at Pilar Hillock in Goa, the Pilar Museum encapsulates the region’s rich cultural and religious heritage, dating back to the Shilahara and Kadamba dynasties. Despite enduring Muslim and Portuguese conquests, the artefacts reveal the camaraderie among Goans, transcending religious affiliations and focusing on communal harmony and spirituality.


India’s only Naval Aviation Museum, near Vasco-da-Gama, aligns with this year’s International Museum Day theme, “Museums for Education and Research.” Established in October 1998, it features outdoor and indoor sections with various aircraft, engines, and armaments. The “Hall of Silence” offers a serene meditation room, while a photo gallery showcases naval aviation history, inspiring aspiring defence personnel.

Goa’s museums guide us through the corridors of time and heritage, educating and inspiring audiences while fostering a deeper appreciation for the state’s rich cultural tapestry. This International Museum Day, let’s commit to preserving and rejuvenating the cultural wealth stored within our museums.

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