The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) museum was established in 1957. Its objectives are to facilitate educational activities on mountaineering and mountain environment, preserve the works of the Himalayan art and culture and document the history of Himalayan Mountaineering. Every year nearly half a million tourists, mountaineers and researchers visit this museum.
The main attraction of the museum are Himalayan, Flora, Fauna and art and culture of Himalayan Region. Another section which draws large crowd is the one where evolution of mountaineering equipment is displayed. The section in which the equipment of first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 is displayed, is also very popular. The museum is situated in the Center of HMI at a slightly raised ground with a magnificent view of Kanchenjunga.
The museum is a repository of models, paintings, sculptures, photographs, manuscripts, books, monographs, artifacts and equipment related to Mountaineering and the people of the Himalayas. Himalayan climbing art, culture and dress and personal belongings of hills folks are also displayed. The museum is curated by Shri Chandanath Das, who is not only qualified as an artist/curator with a graduate degree from the Government College of Arts Kolkata and a postgraduate degree from Italy. He is a qualified mountaineer and an avid painter. His contribution to maintain the fine collection at the museum is immense.
The Museum has three section : Mountaineering History, Mount Everest Expedition and A Panorama of Himalayan Life
MOUNTAINEERING HISTORY SECTION
A relief of the entire Himalayan range displays its prominent peaks, glacier and river systems. The Section also has artifacts related to the evolution of climbing techniques and equipment used in climbing, Flags, Badges of honour, medals, monograms of various Alpine clubs from all over the world are also on display here.
MOUNT EVEREST SECTION
The chronology of mankind’s fascination of challenging the might of Mount Everest has been documented and displayed in this section in great detail. The Discovery of Peak XV as highest point on the earth by Shri Radha Nath Sikder of Survey of India and naming of this peak in honour of the then Surveyor General of India George Everest, as Mt. Everest is also documented here. The Collection in Mt. Everest section can be subdivided into following sub exhibitions.
A PANORAMA OF HIMALAYAN LIFE
The collection include a large number of artifacts and models connected to art, culture, socio-economic life, flora and fauna of Himalaya. The samples of rock, minerals and photographs detailingthe life style, religion and life of the Himalayan people is displayed in this section. The Veb Carl Zeiss telescope presented by Adolf Hitler to General Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana, Commander-in-Chief of the Nepalese army, is on display. General Rana presented it to the Institute on 7th July 1961. This telescope is an important link between HMI and the Govt, of Nepal. There is a section on type of clothing worn by the people of the region. Birds and animals found in Himalayan Region are also showcased here with special emphasis on endangered animals.