The State Archaeology Museum was initially located in rented premises at St Inez in Panaji. It was opened for public on 29th Sept 1977. A new building was constructed on the outskirts of Panaji at the Patto Plaza, and the museum was shifted to this new building and inaugurated by the President of India on 18th June 1996.
At present there are seven galleries in the museum which are the Sculpture Gallery, the Christian Art Gallery, the Banerji Art Gallery, the Religious Expression Gallery, the Cultural Anthropology, the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Western Bronzes Gallery.
The museum at present has the collection of about 8000 objects, which includes Stone Sculptures, Wooden objects, Bronzes, Paintings, Manuscripts, numismatic collection, anthropological objects, clay models etc.
There are also around 645 objects loaned from Institute Menezes Braganza Art gallery and the Kala Academy.
This gallery has some of the best objects of the entire collection of the museum.
In the Sculpture Gallery, the stone sculptures and bronzes of different deities, Hero stones and Sati stones are displayed. This gallery also includes inscriptions or photographs thereof dating from the 4th century A.D.
A significant among these is a copper plate inscription of Viravarma, the Kadamba king, dating back to 1049 A.D. The oldest object in the museum i.e. fossil bone dating 10000 B.C. is also exhibited here.
Christian Art Gallery
The gallery exhibits wooden statues of various Christian Saints and others including Pieta. There are also portraits of past Portuguese Governors of Goa and Prime Ministers.
It also includes some rare paintings on wood, metal and canvas, some furniture pieces like a carved table and chair of the Portuguese Governor General, a sofa set with ivory inlay work, small ivory idols, chest of drawers and few chairs of western style.
An interesting item is a flag which was used to commemorate the Portuguese victory over the Dutch.
Banerji Art Gallery
Shri S. K. Banerji, an Ex-Governor of Goa, has donated a very rich collection to the Goa State Museum. This collection is housed in this gallery named after him.
It includes terracota objects of Indus Valley Civilization, seals of Janapadas, stone sculptures of Gandhara school of Art, South Indian bronzes, wooden sculptures of South East Asia and Dhokra ware.
In addition to this Rajasthani miniature paintings of Jaipur School, Marwar school, Mewar school etc., paintings of Mughal style, Nathdwara and patachitras of Orissa and few contemporary paintings are also displayed here.
Religious Expression Gallery
An ancient image of Lord Vishnu from the Gupta period is one of the most striking and valuable possessions kept in the Religious Expression gallery.
This gallery reflects the varied and multi-cultural religious expressions of Goa over the years. It includes a model of "Tarang", traditional musical instruments, worship utensils, palm-leaf manuscripts and paper manuscripts of different religious texts and also few old photographs of various religious ceremonies and festivals.
Cultural Anthropology gallery displays the objects related to cultural anthropology such as household utensils, different games, weights and measures. It also exhibits a model of a sugarcane crusher, crane and agricultural implements. The most remarkable are the clay models showing different professions.
Contemporary Art Gallery
In the Contemporary Art Gallery, paintings and sculptures of well-known Goan and Indian artists are exhibited. There are paintings of eminent artists like R. Chimulkar, F. N. Souza, S. H. Raza, M. F. Hussain, K. H. Ara and many others received on loan from the Kala Academy and Institute of Menezes Braganza are displayed here.
Western Bronzes Gallery
In the Western Bronzes Gallery, replicas of the bronze sculptures of European Artists like Claude, Dalon and others are displayed.
These bronzes form an important of the museum collection.
A Museum Week is celebrated every year in the second week of January, during which various programmes are arranged including display of new collection. The Museum also arranges other programmes during the year such as Painting competition, Essay competitions and Quizzes.
Museum is open from Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.