10 Best Museums to see in Goa
Explore Goa through its museums!
Perhaps the best way to get a feel of the culture of a land and learn about the place is by visiting its museums. Being blessed with an abundance of heritage and history, Goa has much to offer when it comes to museums.
Not only do these museums provide fascinating perspectives into Goa’s past, but they are also creatively designed to make history fun and fascinating!
And, if you are in Goa and fancy a visit to some of them, then, here is a list of 10 best museums to check out.
Museum of Goa (MOG) – Pilerne
Studying history in a classroom environment might sound a tad boring, but we bet that this art space in North Goa will definitely make history so much more fun and interesting.
Located in the industrial estate of Pilerne is the ‘Museum of Goa (MOG)’ which is the brainchild of Subodh Kerkar. If you are unable to locate the place, interesting signages spread across will take you there. Therefore, you certainly don’t have to worry about finding the museum.
This museum was created by Subodh Kerkar, who uses contemporary art as a medium of communicating history.
Local lifestyles, culture and history are narrated through contemporary art forms and installations, giving a closer view of how the culture of the land has been shaped over the years.
Source: Shivang Mishra (NT Go Goa Now)
Houses of Goa – Salvador do Mundo
Uniquely designed in the form of a triangular ship-like structure, which also looks like a house on the outside, is the ‘Houses of Goa’ museum, located in Salvador do Mundo. The museum is the brainchild of architect Gerard Da Cunha, who aims to showcase the architectural brilliance of the homes found in Goa.
Spread across various galleries, the museum has a pictorial display, a collection of artefacts, an audio-visual section and more. The theme, here, is the architectural elements of Indo-Portuguese houses.
This is beautifully portrayed through the museum – from life in Goa through Mario Miranda’s cartoons to the variety of architectural elements to the materials used in Goan homes to how the Portuguese colonists changed the course of houses in Goa.
From doorways to railings to archways to sit-outs, the story of everything that goes into the making of an Indo-Portuguese home in Goa can be easily tracked.
ASI Museum – Old Goa
If you’re visiting the churches and convents of Old Goa, then you shouldn’t miss visiting the ASI museum there.
Situated next to the Church of St Francis of Assisi is this museum, which houses artefacts found across Goa, and which date back several centuries.
The museum, which is under the Archaeological Survey of India, showcases interesting artefacts that include hero-stones, wooden and ivory sculptures of Christian saints, Coat of Arms, Roman Catholic Sacramental Emblems, Arabic and Persian inscriptions of the Adil Shahi Kingdom, etc.
An entire gallery, here, is dedicated to portraits and paintings of Portuguese Governors and Viceroys of Goa; these objects were originally from the Old Secretariat, in Panjim, as well as residential mansions.
Several other galleries can also be found in the museum.
Museum of Christian Art – Old Goa
On the picturesque Holy Hill, in Old Goa, near the 17th century Convent of Santa Monica is the ‘Museum of Christian Art (MOCA) which displays antiquity of two distinct cultures – Indo-Portuguese.
The objects on display here are nearly five centuries old and exhibit extraordinary, skilled craftsmanship. The collection includes sculptures, liturgical objects, jewellery, furniture and embroidery, fashioned in materials such as stone, wood, metal, ivory and textiles.
Goa Chitra Museum – Benaulim
With over 4,000 assorted objects on display, the museum of Goa Chitra, at Benaulim, showcases the ethnographic heritage of Goa.
From farming implements to ancient tools, the museum paints a picture of the traditional occupations of Goa. It gives a glimpse of an agrarian society, at a time when simple tools were used for sowing, harvesting, cutting, irrigation etc. An entire section of the museum is dedicated to age-old measuring equipment made of wood and metal, which were used for a variety of purposes. Ancient modes of transport, such as palanquins and caderin are also on display here.
Religious accessories and artefacts of both, Catholic and Hindu, religions of Goa form part of the exhibits.
If you are in South Goa, then this museum, founded by Victor Hugo Gomes, ‘Goa Chitra,’ is not to be missed.
Big Foot – Loutolim
Another fascinating museum in South Goa, which you should add to your list is The ‘Big Foot’. This museum is a walk through Goa’s history, where the history, life of the people and its culture are narrated via various depictions. The museum, founded by Maendra Alvares is a popular spot for tourists, and can help one gain an understanding of the people of Goa in the days gone by.
Incidentally, the sculpture of Saint Mirabai, at the museum, also made it to the Limca Books of Records.
Besides this, the museum houses several galleries that are distinct, one of which is a collection of crosses. This section contains a mind-boggling array of crosses.
Pilar Museum – Pilar
Sitting atop the hillock of Pilar, is the Pilar Seminary Museum, which takes you back to a time when Goa was under the rule of a galaxy of dynasties, ranging from the Kadambas, the Shilaharas, the Vijayangaras, etc.
The museum showcases some of the finest objects from the pre-Portuguese era, under the Capuchos and the Caramelties.
Precious items of great value such as paintings on wood and canvas, wooden statues, treasures in gold, silver, pottery, ivory etc, are some of the objects you will find here.
Goa State Museum – Panaji
Temporarily housed in the ancient palace of Adil Shah, the Goa State Museum at Panaji, has antiques, art objects, and objects of cultural importance on display, with several galleries dedicated to printing history, religion, contemporary art, numismatics, Christian art, Goa’s freedom struggle, furniture, etc.
Take a walk through these galleries and draw a character sketch of Goa’s past, right from the rule of various dynasties to the landing of the Portuguese to the liberation struggle.
Reis Magos Museum – Verem
A fort with a museum is what comes to mind when we talk about the Reis Magos Fort Museum. Sitting majestically on the banks of the River Mandovi, this fort was built in the early 1550s. It also functioned as a jail for a period of time.
Today, it is impossible to ignore its breathtaking beauty, owing to its strategic location and architecture.
When you visit the fort, don’t forget to visit the museum, therein, where you can get a chance to admire the artistic works of the great cartoonist, Mario Miranda, showcasing life in Goa as well as its rich history.
Indian Customs & Central Excise Museum – Panaji
Situated in the capital city – Panaji, the prominent blue building houses a museum which is one of its kind in the state. It shows the journey of Customs and Excise practice since ancient times.
The collection here includes rare items seized from smugglers over a decade or even a century. Besides this, the museum also showcases the craftiness adopted by smugglers to avoid custom duties.
One can trace the journey of customs practices dating back to thousands of years during the Indus Valley Civilization when the Lothal dock used to collect tax from ships till recent times.
A very informative museum you shouldn’t miss out on.
So, if you are the one seeking out a quiet place where you can sit in front of an exhibit and reflect on it or lose yourself in endless thoughts taking you back and forth in time, then these Museums are your fix!