The Natural History Museum (NHM) is situated on a hummock of the world heritage site of ancient Swayambhu stupa. This museum was established in 1975 under the management of Institute of Science & Technology, Tribhuvan University, with some original objectives of collecting, preserving, conducting studies and displaying the natural heritage of our country. Museums like NHM enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible the collections and specimens, which they hold in trust for the society. The foci of NHM are tracing, collecting and preserving the holistic natural artefacts on the subjects of Anthropology, Botany, Geography, Geology, Earth history, Zoology and many more like evolution, environmental issues and biodiversity.
The mission of NHM (www.nhmnepal.edu. np) is to initiate and encourage researches on various subjects of natural science, which are very significant to the national and international levels. The current objectives of this museum are to:
This museum has a gallery of permanent exhibition of several specimens of plants and animals. It has also a huge collection of Nepal’s bio–diversity.
The NHM is the scientific authority in fauna for CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in Nepal and is conducting training programmes on CITES related issues to allied individuals and organizations in Nepal since 1990. It also works for Nepal Government to identify the individual species so that necessary legal actions are taken against the poachers and carriers of such items.
The Natural History Museum has its own library with books, journals, periodicals and magazines on natural science related subjects. The library service is available at any time during the working hours.
The museum has been regularly publishing the Journal of Natural History Museum since its inception. This journal has the honor of being one of the oldest journals in the areas of biodiversity and nature conservation. The journal is circulated to major institutions of the world. The online version of 27th volume of the Journal has been successfully launched. Books, brochures and posters published by Natural History Museum are also available at the reception of the museum hall.
Even after more than three decades of its establishment, the museum does not have enough space for housing the specimens. Its present location is within the world heritage site where no construction is allowed, and hence further extension has become impossible. Though the museum has great potential to foster and develop, it cannot maintain its standard without proper housing facilities that meets international standards. As the congestion of space has obstructed the display of the specimens, the museum needs an extension in physical facilities for proper accommodation of the growing collection awaiting systematic exhibition.
The collection is wide in scope and boasts particular strengths in flora and fauna. Natural History Museum provides space to native and foreign naturalists, friends of nature and nature lovers to work voluntarily in the museum as well as in the herbal garden. The museum also invites researchers to work with the team of the museum in flora, fauna and paleontology of Nepal. Through implementation of its objectives the museum hopes to expand the scope of the collections and continues its significant work in biodiversity and conservation.
Postage Stamps Issue in 2015
In continuation of the first series of 4 stamps with the logo of Natural History Museum issued in 2013, the Postal Services Department of Nepal Government again issued one land mark stamp in 2014. That is the special stamp of Natural History Museum itself. This stamp bears the building of NHM and logo in the denomination of one Rupee. This is the first time a separate entity within Tribhuvan University was commemorated with a postal stamp. Furthermore, 3 miniature sheets and within each 4 different moths of Nepal along with the logo of Natural History Museum were also issued in 2014. All these activities have shown the significant role and contribution of Natural History Museum towards the development of our country.
The NHM building at Swayambhu requires the formulation of an immediate and express master plan based on the present day technology. Furthermore, many officials with curatorial guidance need to be trained for better management of this museum. In addition to the traditional management of NHM, the 21st century requirement demands the content of the collections in the form of images, audio and visual effects and interactive exhibits. There should be persons who are able to design the exhibits in the form of high resolution images with detailed information via the internet also. This means that there should be departments that include audio–visual specialists, computer
engineers, software designers, audience research and evaluation specialists, writers, editors etc.
It is true that organizations like this need fixed funds for administration and development from the umbrella organization. The museum can also independently generate extra funds by launching several extra activities. There are several examples of fund raisings by the museum itself to assist the financial status by levying small requisite amounts by giving the service via internet with the help of modern internet banking systems. Many souvenir items can be manufactured and sold to the viewers. Keeping these points in view, immediate action plans could be formulated.
The only Natural History Museum of Nepal, which has a rich collection of natural heritage of our country, is in the process of scientific plans and policies to formulate a better and robust centre of learning to the general Nepalese public, students and researchers, foreigners, and to conserve our natural heritage for the sake of future generations.
The museum remains open for visitors from 10:30
Prof. Ramesh Shrestha, Ph.D.
Natural History Museum,
Institute of Science & Technology,TU Swayambhu, Kathmandu, Nepal