Archaeological Museum and Portrait Gallery was set up in 1964, NS reorganised in 1981–82. It is run by the Government of India’s Archaeological Survey of India and is situated in the former Portuguese colonial capital of Old Goa, a historic one-time city which now attracts a large number of tourists. This site was converted into a museum in 1964 and was originally a part of the old Franciscan monastery adjacent to the Church of St Francis of Assisi. Currently maintained by the Archaeological Society of India, it houses eight galleries containing Portuguese and pre-colonial artefacts. The importance of this museum lies in the display of the portrait paintings of governors and viceroys, wooden sculptures, pillars, capitals, postal stamps likewise many other objects which belong to the Portuguese period in Goa.
The rich and rare collection of different things in this gallery is worth the visit. In fact, the collection of artifacts, portraits and maps that you will find in this gallery is simply awesome, and this is one of the major reasons for which it has become an important point of tourist interest. The showcases have been provided to display the important objects the pedestals are prepared to display the heavy stone and wooden objects. The portraits are displayed utilizing both natural and artificial light.
The main hall of the museum is flanked by a huge statue of Alfonso de Albuquerque in its entrance gate. The statue was earlier situated in Old Goa and subsequently at the Azad Maidan in Panaji. After liberation it was placed in the museum. The other areas of the museum consist of the Key Gallery, the Portrait Gallery and the Sculpture Gallery.
Master pieces in the collection includes: Luis Vaz de Camees, Vishnu with ten incarnation, Surya, Gajalakshmi, wooden sculpture of John the Baptist, ivory sculptures of Jesus Crucification, bronze statue of Albuquerques (first governor of Goa), hero stone, sati stone, Persian and Arabic inscription, portrait paintings of Vasco da Gama, Com Joa de Castro, Portuguese arms like rifle, swords and daggers, etc. Among the numerous displays of galleries are sixty portraits of viceroys and governors of Goa, a wooden statue of St. Peter and a unique collection of Hindu deities. There is a standing statue of Lord Vishnu accompanied by Goddess Laxmi and Garuda on either side.
The chief exhibits comprise of coins, ancient maps, ceramics, bronze statues, Paleolithic tools, stamps, wooden sculptures, some archaeological finds dating back more than 2,000 years and a collection of imperative portraits. The entry to this museum is Rs. 5. The experience you gain here by appreciating the affluence of grand past is more than a million dollars. Here, you have an exquisite experience while looking at the richness spread there. The site of this museum and portrait gallery is very peaceful and free of irritants.
The additional facilities provided for the visitors include the potable drinking water, clean inventory, video show on World Heritage properties in India, children activity center, publication sale counter.
The museum is open on all days from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm except Fridays.