(National Council of Science Museums, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India)

BITM, Kolkata
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BITM, Kolkata

Welcome to:

BIRLA INDUSTRIAL & TECHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM, a unit under National Council of Science Museums, the parent body of all the science Centres / Museums in India.
About us :

Birla Industrial & Technological Museum – communicating Science since 1959

The premise of Birla Industrial & Technological Museum, now 19A, Gurusaday Road, was known as 18, Ballygunge Store Road before 1919. Record shows that the Tagores purchased it from Mirza Abdul Karim in 1898. Meera Devi, the fourth of Rabindranath Tagore’s five children, spent a large part of her childhood in this house. From Surendranath Tagore, G.D. Birla bought the property in 1919 and from henceforth came to be known as Birla Park.

After the Birlas took over the property, there were major changes. The house used by the Tagores was pulled down and architects N. Guin & Co. were called upon to design the main building structure as we see today. It is a colonial adaptation of a mixture of various styles of European Art.

With the Birlas as the new owner, 19A, Gurusaday Road (Birla Park) continued to be a special address. Luminaries like C.R. Das, Aurobindo Ghosh, Sister Nivedita, Rashbehari Ghosh, Anandamohan Sen, and other important foreign visitors like Kakuzo Okakura, Yokoyama, Tikan, Hishida and Katusta, all famous Japanese artists, frequented it at the time of Tagores. Again close association of G.D. Birla with nationalist leaders brought Mahatma Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, Lala Lajpat Rai, Pundit Madan Mohan Malaviya to Birla Park. It may be of some interest to know that it was here that Chiang Kai-Shek met Mahatma Gandhi.

Now from Birla Park to Birla Museum is an interesting story. In 1956, Dr. B.C. Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, foresaw a big role of such Museums of Science, Technology & Industry in a developing country. This idea also matched with that of Shri G.D. Birla and the magnanimous Birla Park with its imposing building and five bighas surrounding space was handed over by him to Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India for setting up a science museum in Kolkata.

After that, the transformation from a luxurious residence of historical importance to a public museum took exactly three years and the Museum was thrown open to the public on 2nd May 1959 by Union Minister Prof. Humayun Kabir, in presence of Dr. B. C. Roy, Shri B. M. Birla and Prof. M. S. Thacker, the then Director General of CSIR.

Backtracking down the memory lane, we find that during the first few years of its inception, BITM opened galleries on a) Iron & Steel b) Copper c) Petroleum d) Electricity e) Nuclear Physics and f) Motive Power. Then, one by one, Communication (1963), Mining (1964), Popular Science (1965), Electronics & T.V (1966), Transport (1973) galleries were added subsequently. Mock-up Coal Mine was inaugurated in 1983.

From the very beginning Popular Lectures and Film Shows got underway. Science Demonstration Lectures for students became a feature of BITM from 1965. The same year also saw the pioneering effort of BITM - the Mobile Science Exhibition (MSE). The first exhibition on wheels through MSE was ‘Our Familiar Electricity”. The concept of Model Making Competition, popularly known as Science Fair can be traced back to 1967 and the very next year, the first Teachers’ Training Programme was launched. Gaining a strong foothold in the city, BITM thought of going to the rural Bengal to spread the message of Science. In 1982, the first satellite unit of BITM, the District Science Centre at Purulia was opened.

From then on till date, Birla Industrial & Technological Museum, the first science museum in this country have come a long way. With its various galleries, multifarious activities and ever increasing chains of satellite centres, it has become a place where science happens in front of one’s eyes through animated and interactive models. Side by side, the history of technology and Industry rejuvenates itself to the visitors through real or scaled down replicas.


In its mission to modernize and upgrade its activities and facilities from time to time, BITM is constantly developing new galleries and giving a facelift to the existing ones. In the new millennium BITM has added to its kitty the galleries on Mathematics, Life Science, Biotechnology, Metals, Fascinating Physics, Television and Children’s. The ones that got a face-lift were Electricity, Transport, Popular Science, Motive Power (Hall 1) and underground Mock-up Coal Mine with ‘light & sound show’.

3D Show was added in 2006. In the area of Mobile Science Exhibition, units on Energy, Fun Science, Emerging Technologies, Mathematics, Electricity & Magnetism, Global Changes etc. have generated a lot of interest among the rural masses. An exhibition currently on display in BITM is 'A World in Darkness' for the visually challenged people. Daily Science Shows on Fun Science, Science Magic Miracle, Fantastic Chemistry, Balls Balloons & Bubble, Egg-cellent, Super Cool Bodies and Fire-y-tale are must see items for all. Taramandal (Planetarium) Show and Sky observation through telescope lures visitors having inclination towards astronomy.

To encourage syllabus oriented practical experimentation, multimedia softwares entitled “Virtual Laboratories on Chemistry and Zoology” have been developed and are currently available in BITM Library.

In keeping with the age old trend of BITM to encourage creativity among students through hands on activities, a centre for innovation for students under the guidance of mentors known as ‘Innovation Hub’ has been inaugurated at BITM.


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