The Assam State Museum, established as the Assam Provincial Museum was inaugurated in the year 1940 by the then Governor of Assam, Sir Robert Neil Reid. The Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti established in 1912 along with the Assam State Museum was the brainchild of Rai Bahadur Kanak Lal Barua ,whose untiring efforts gave birth to both the institution, serving a common objective i.e. preservation and promotion of Assam’s history and cultural heritage through collection, research and publication. The museum functioned as a non-profit organization until 1953 when it got recognition as a government institution. Late P. D. Choudhury was the first director of this Museum.
The Antiquities handed over to the Assam State Museum by Kamrup Anusandhan Samiti formed the nucleas of its collection at the time of its establishment. Presently housed in an imposing colonial-era three-storied building, this museum display objects associated with Assam’s history and socio-cultural importance of the Assamese people. The Assam State Museum has preserved numbers of unique antiquities collected from different places of the region and of different types such as stone sculptures, metal objects, epigraphs, wooden artefacts, arms equipments and manuscripts paintings, besides which, the village life section, ethnographic section provides a glimpse into everyday rural life.
From Assam State Museum to the present Directorate of Museums:
The prime function of the Directorate of Museums, Assam, Guwahati, is to preserve, display, research, and communicate for the purpose of study, education and enjoyment of the cultural objects of this state. Ever since its inception, the Directorate of Museums, Assam, had initiated a concerted drive for its various programmes and it serve more varied and ever expanding audiences. One of the purpose of creation of this Directorate was for proper preservation, sympathetic exposition, documentation and study of the cultural heritage of this region and to fill up the lacunae, wherever possible, existing in the social, political and cultural fabrics of this region.
The Directorate is rendering worthwhile service to the people through the Assam State Museum along with 10 (ten) newly established District Museums at – Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Mangaldoi, Tezpur, Nagaon, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Diphu and Haflons plus one sub-divisional museum at Hamren, one personalia museum (in the memory of Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi) at Raha, one Folk Art Museum (in the memory of Nilima Barua) at Gauripur (Dhubri district) and one Mini Museum at Bordowa, with the aim to serve the constitutional obligation for the protection and preservation of the cultural heritage from pre-history to modern times. The Director has the ultimate responsibility for overseeing the financial and administrative health of the organization and does this by making personal contact, attending government meetings and suggesting new ideas for the collection of revenues. He/ She is also concept builder for the growth and development of museums in this state.
(source: page 12 As-Is Study Report Cultural Affairs Department Assam, http://online.assam.gov.in/documents/10156/42773/6.+Cultural+Affairs+Department+As+Is+Report.pdf)