Gass Forest Museum in Coimbatore is now open for guests

Iconic 120-year-old Gass Forest Museum is a document of the historical past of the land, lovingly curated for over a century. Now, discover its in depth assortment from fungi to elephant stays

Iconic 120-year-old Gass Forest Museum is a document of the historical past of the land, lovingly curated for over a century. Now, discover its in depth assortment from fungi to elephant stays

An enormous stuffed Indian Gaur from the Biligiri Hills of Karnataka greets you even earlier than you enter the towering two-tiered Gothic-style mansion that holds considered one of India’s largest and oldest pure historical past collections.

Nestled amongst greenery on the sprawling forest campus of Tamil Nadu Forest Academy, the long-lasting 120-year-old Gass Forest Museum named after Horace Archibald Gass (the Conservator of Forests in Coimbatore Southern Circle of the Madras Presidency in 1902) in recognition of his efforts and contributions, hosts as many as 4000 artefacts together with wildlife, timber and non-timber forest produce, geological samples, tribal armaments, entomological specimens and forest engineering fashions. After remaining closed for 2 years as a result of pandemic, the museum, which is maintained by the extension division of Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB) has now opened to guests.

“In the ethnology section, there’s a collection of 16 ft long tiger spears used for hunting. It teaches you about the sociological and anthropological aspects of the tribes and also their physical strength. The throw of the spear should cover 360 degrees while hunting a tiger,” says P Chandrasekaran, assistant chief technical officer of IFGTB adding that every single exhibit has a story.

For example, the gaur displayed at the main exhibition room was presented in 1956 by Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, the last Maharaja of the princely state of Mysore while the 14-month and four-month elephant foetuses were gifted by renowned ‘elephant doctor’ V. Krishnamurthy , who performed the highest number of elephant post-mortems. The gaur is accompanied by various other stuffed animals including the great Indian hornbill, Nilgiri langur, slender lorris, and birds.

There is also a skeleton section with the skeleton of an elephant and a bull. “It’s a museum within a museum as the colonial building was built specifically for this purpose. The height of the ceiling was raised to accommodate a massive sandalwood trunk that weighs 1.75 tonnes and is 10.2 meters tall,” states Chandrasekaran.

Other notable reveals embody a cross-section of a 456-year-old teak wooden, first man-made Conolly’s teak wooden, and over 400 timber panels. This provides us a peek into historical past of the East India Company’s arrival and buying and selling.

The iconic building

The iconic constructing | Photo Credit: PERIASAMY M

The entomology part has bugs, beetles and butterflies on pins which have been in mahogany show circumstances for greater than a century. “I noticed marbled map, a butterfly species that is distributed across South East Asia up to north east India till Andhra. Other rare species are autumn leaf and five band swordtail,” says A Pavendhan, founding father of Tamil Nadu Butterfly Society. “Besides a comparative examine of evolution of dimension, we will additionally perceive how habitat destruction wiped off a number of species. Adding widespread names together with scientific names and including a show of recent species might be useful, particularly for college students.”

The mycology section has fungal species that occur in the forests and have an important role to play in the growth of trees. While the wildlife artefacts are disturbed only to polish, periodically change formalin and maintain moisture content, the seeds, soils and fungi collections are updated regularly. However, preserving biological specimens poses a challenge.

A three-horned deer skull

A 3-horned deer cranium | Photo Credit: PERIASAMY M

It is believed that in 1902, HA Gass used his verandahs and a room above his workplace to showcase attention-grabbing specimens he picked up from forests throughout India. By 1906, his assortment with 358 reveals, had outgrown this house and was transferred to the present construction. “It’s the history of the land,” says C Kunhikannan, IFGTB director. “A result of the efforts of one man, HA Gass, who painstakingly built the repository on natural history for the benefit of future generation of students, researchers, and the public.”

Reaching out

Along with ongoing Prakriti Nature Connect program for college students there’s a three-day Junior Rangers Program solely for college students of Government Schools that exposes college students to know the function of rangers in conservation and safety. For particulars, go to the web site at

An educentre connected to the museum sensitises college students on conservation. “It has to begins with a visit here, a complete forest museum,” says S Saravanan, head of extension division of IFGTB. “ Besides distinctive reveals on the constructing, do not miss to see the spectacular Baobab tree towering among the many boulevard resulting in the museum. This tree which you see right here can in any other case be discovered solely in Africa,” says P Pramod, senior scientist of SACON.

Exhibits at the ethnology section

Exhibits on the ethnology part | Photo Credit: PERIASAMY M

The museum, which hosts over 50,000 guests in a 12 months maintains a Visitor’s Diary: day one options an entry by the primary customer, Lord Ampthill, the Governor of Madras presidency in 1902. .

The museum might be open from 9 am to five.30 pm on all working days besides Saturday, Sunday and declared holidays with an entry payment of ₹40 for adults and ₹20 for youngsters. Museum curator might be reached at 0422 2450307.

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