The Crafts Museum at Pragati Maidan has galleries displaying India's rich tradition of handicrafts. An added attraction is the presence of craftspersons, who are brought here from different parts of the country to demonstrate their skills. The museum boasts of having the most rare and exquisite pieces of art and craft, selectively collected from all over the country.
The Crafts Museum kicked off in 1956, as a project to showcase the works of indigenous artisans in one place. By the early 1980's, over 20,000 objects had been collected. The museum is distinct for its architectural display of various villages.
Authentically constructed mud huts are beautifully decorated with folk art and exhibits include woodcarvings, paintings, paper-mache, embroidery and a full-sized wooden haveli from Gujarat.
The complex also houses the Crafts Museum Shop. The first gallery on display is the Tribal and Rural Craft Gallery, followed by the Gallery of Courtly Crafts, Textile Gallery, Gallery of Popular Culture, and others. There is also a reference section with about 15,000 objects, for the benefit of scholars, designers and craftspersons.
Live demonstrations by the artisans offer close glimpses of the folk arts of India. Tourists can buy ritual objects, ornaments, rugs, shawls and books from the craftsmen as well as from the museum.
For anyone who loves Indian art, textiles, and cultural traditions, the Handicrafts Museum is a gold mine. It is a fantastic collection of art and craft items from all over India, where visitors can explore the regional variations of this country's glorious traditional arts. Every conceivable type of craft is displayed here, from wood carving to embroidery to papier-mache, and the quality of the museum's holdings is phenomenal. For textile fans, the second floor is a must-see: the museum houses a massive collection of silks, saris, cotton prints, embroidered fabrics, and other textiles drawn from all over India. The display is fairly overwhelming, but unmissable for anyone who is into this art form.