Museums and galleries provide an insight into the history of mankind. Lahore’s historic museums celebrate a collective heritage, offering a great way to get to know the history of areas even outside the subcontinent. If you’re someone who has a fraction of a love for ancient sculptures, heirlooms, and monuments, then your itinerary for the Lahore trip must include a visit to some of its local museums listed here.
Fakir Khana Museum is located inside the Bhatti Gate and is known to be the largest private repository of cultural and historical artefacts in South Asia. The famous Fakir family of Lahore is serving as custodians of heritage and history by collecting and conserving great connoisseurs of art. Fakir Khana Museum contains a wide range of gifts from Queen Victoria and Maharaja Ranjeet Singh depicting the cultural history and patrimony of Punjab for the visitors. Around about 10,000 manuscripts, miniature paintings, pottery, textiles, and statues, mostly from the Sikh era are also residing inside the museum. Despite heaps of artwork, the most precious and eye-catching possession of the gallery is Nawab Mumtaz Ali’s painting as its completion took almost 15 years since it was painted using a single hair. The museum is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. This is a go-to place for individuals who have a pursuit for art and antiques but one must make an appointment prior to the visit as the mansion is not open for the general public on a regular basis.
Lahore Museum, known to be standing out among the ancient structures built during the British reign is a majestic red-brick building on Mall Road. Blended with the old tradition of Mughal Architecture, this historic marvel possesses unique collections from Buddhist art to relics of the Indo-Greek and Gandhara kingdoms. Similarly, it is home to paintings, jewellery, pottery, armoury from the Mughal era and also exhibits Nepalese and Tibetan artwork. The museum is easily approachable and welcomes you with a gigantic mural painted on the entrance hall ceiling. However, the museum’s most treasured antiquity has to be a statue of the fasting Buddha from the Gandhara period. The museum has also got its tourists covered with a souvenir shop, café, and a research library to visit. You can visit the museum from 9 a.m to 4 p.m.and a ticket price ranging from 20 – 50 PKR (local) and PKR 1000 (foreigners) is charged.
Pakistan’s first National History Museum, established in Greater Park, digitally presents all aspects of Pakistan’s history. The museum celebrates and preserves Pakistan’s ideology and its struggle for Independence. One part of the museum shares tales from the War of Independence and the first few years of the newborn state, while the digital walls and several other sections of the museum depict the Pakistan Movement and its inception. The museum also highlights life after Pakistan’s inception, including the condition of government offices, important aircrafts belonging to the Pakistan Army, and the first train that carried people to Lahore after partition. Virtual reality, holograms, interactive screens, and 3D cinemas result in an immersive experience that takes visitors through the history of our ancestors. The semi-circle structure also contains a gift shop, a Heroes’ gallery, and an amphitheatre. It remains open from Tuesday to Sunday and the timings are 10 a.m to 4:30 p.m. The ticket price ranges from PKR 50 to PKR 250.
The Pakistan Army Museum is a must-see for weaponry and war-history enthusiasts. The entrance of the building is decorated with a statue of sepoy Khudad Khan, the first Muslim in the region to receive an award for serving in the British Army during World War I. The museum is divided into various galleries. The Hurriyat Gallery is assigned to fighters who travelled from Fata to Kashmir to fight in the 1947 Indo-Pak war on Kashmir. Other galleries are dedicated to the 1965 and1971 wars. It contains arms and ammunition from the Mughal era, all the way to modern weapons. The museum also has a vast collection of original relics, books, journals and documents, photographs, and audiovisual materials. One can also find vehicles used by the Indian forces that were captured by the army during the war, such as the Willy Jeep. The museum is open from 9:30 AM to 04:00 PM, however, the timings to buy a ticket is 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM. Honouring the sacrifices of our Army, commendable work has been done in this museum for the visitors to always remember our soldiers.
Allama Iqbal Museum previously known as Javed Manzil is an eye-catching white colonial building with an impressive garden at the front. It is located in Garhi Shahu. The museum was a tribute to the great poet and contains all the hand-written drafts of Iqbal’s work, photographs, awards, medals, and educational degrees he possessed. The building has one library and nine galleries. The museum remains open every day from 9 am to 4 pm. There is no entrance fee although all donations are welcomed. However, unfortunately, it has failed to grab people’s attention. If one wants to enlighten himself and catch glimpses of the relics of the great thinker and poet, this place is for them.
Born in 1914, one of the greatest painters of Pakistan, Shakir Ali, is a hallmark of art and culture for not just Pakistan, but also the subcontinent. The major piece of his art was his home which now has turned into the Shakir Ali Museum in Lahore. Every brick, hinge, and the door was handpicked by Ali himself, which eventually took the artist ten years to complete the masterpiece. The walk through the galleries of the museum reminisces one with Ali’s famous paintings, photographs of his life, his portraits done by other artists, and art pieces gifted by his students. The Shakir Ali museum hosts seminars and workshops making sure the artist’s name and efforts in the field do not die down. The museum also facilitates its visitors with a research library to benefit from. Visiting hours of the museum are from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.
The only science and technology museum in Pakistan at the national level, the national museum of science and technology, is situated on G. T. Road next to the University of Engineering and Technology (UET). Around 500 exhibits are displayed in 4 galleries of the museum. The museum is also home to a tuck shop, a mosque, and a reading room. The exhibits displayed in this museum revolve around a vast diversity of scientific topics, including light and optical illusions, sound, mathematics, engines and machines, electricity and magnetism, behavioural physiology, gems and stones, modes of transport, biology, natural history, history of computers, electronics and communication, satellites and rockets, medicines, molecular biology, and energy. The featured exhibits are the engine of a Rolls Royce, the working of a salt mine and a coal mine, as well as South Asia’s largest Foucault’s Pendulum. The museum is open to visitors from 9 a.m to 5 p.m