Fire breaks out at Patna Museum complex

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Patna, May 8 (PTI) A fire broke out on Wednesday in a new building of the Patna Museum complex, which underwent a major revamp in the past few years, according to officials.

The historic Patna Museum, home to a collection of rich artefacts, rare paintings and 200 million-year-old fossilised tree trunk, has been closed for visitors since June 1 last year to undertake a revamp of its 96-year-old building.

"The fire broke out in a section of a newly constructed building, which is an extension of the old heritage building of the Patna Museum. Several fire tenders were pressed into service. However, no major injury has been reported so far," a senior official at the museum said.

This new wing, built to the west of the old museum building, will also house a gallery, he said, adding the fire has been contained.

It remains to be ascertained if any damage was caused to any artefacts in the incident.

A project on redevelopment of the museum building, located on the old Patna-Gaya Road, is currently underway, whose foundation stone was laid by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in August 2020.

Besides, refurbishment of the heritage building being done as part of a redevelopment project, its old galleries will be redesigned, rearranged and curated in a new way to showcase the artefacts and other historic items in a better manner, officials had earlier said.

Many old artefacts, which were earlier housed in the heritage building of the museum, have been shifted to the storage space located in one of the new extension wings.

One of the most striking and recognisable buildings of the capital city, the Patna Museum building was constructed in 1928 with two identical ornate gateways - the 'In Gate' and the 'Out Gate'.

The old heritage gates of the museum were recently demolished and replaced with new gates built in similar style, sparking criticism from various scholars and heritage lovers.

The 'Out Gate' had suffered damage in early 2023 and later the 'In Gate' was also damaged during the redevelopment work, and heritage lovers had appealed to the government to repair and restore the old gates. PTI KND MNK MNK MNK