Contact Us
Kerala Museum, Pathadipalam,
Edappally, Kochi, 682 024
Tel : 0484-2541768, 8129051880
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The Kerala Museum &  The  Foundation

Under the aegis of The  Madhavan Nayar Foundation  established in 1984,  grew several sub-establishments of the  Kerala Museum - the Museum of Kerala History and the Gallery of Contemporary Art which remain the core of the Foundation; the Visual Arts Gallery, the Gallery of Miniature Art and the Dolls Museum.
Situated on the National Highway , it is a prominent landmark of the city of Cochin.
The Madhavan Nayar Foundation is a Charitable Trust and a non - governmental , non- profit organisation and is sustained by the Foundation and charitable contributions from art lovers and members of the public.


R. MadhavanNayar (1914-1996) founded the Kerala Museum  in 1986.

A philanthropist, and pioneer across Industry, Business, Fine Arts and Sports, MadhavanNayar envisioned potential within these fields, ahead of his times.

Son of Ramakurup,  a Judge from in the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore, and Janakiamma, he was exposed to classical music and dance, art, history and literature from a very early age.

Beginning his career with a Masters in History as assistant to Sir Robert Bristow, then head of the Cochin Port Trust, he went on to father an industry that is now worth over Rs.7000 crores annually, and employing lakhs of workers. In February 1992, his sharp business acumen was honoured on the occasion of the Ninth Indian Seafood Fair as the “Father of the Seafood Export Industry in India,” and was invited on more than one occasion to speak at the UN’s FAO summits.

Among his multi-faceted interests, Madhavan Nayar made a significant contribution to the field of Medicine and the alleviation of human suffering, through the Madhavan Nayar Centre for Comprehensive Epilepsy Care at the Shri Chitra Tirunal Institute in Thiruvananthapuram. This was then the only one of it’s kind in Asia.

His early association with the arts sustained his passion in the field throughout his lifetime during which he established several social, educational and cultural institutions in Kochi city. Through one of these, the Kerala Fine Arts Society, he invited to the city renowned artists such as Bharatanatyam dancers Yamini Krishnamurthi and Vyjayanthimala, Flautist Hari Prasad Chaurasia and many others, all guests in his own home.

His zest for the arts eventually led to the establishment of the Madhavan Nayar Foundation in 1984, under the aegis of which grew several sub-establishments such as the Museum of Kerala History and the Gallery of Contemporary Art which remain the core of the Foundation, and also the Visual Arts Gallery, the Gallery of Miniature Art and the Dolls Museum.

In the year 1986 he curated a sound and light promenade depicting the story of Kerala charted through the significant events and peoplein its history. He invited the famous sculptor Karamana Rajagopal from Thiruvananthapuram to reside on the Museum premises and sculpt the thirty-seven tableaux and 90 figures that now form the Museum of Kerala History. As a student of History, he was personally involved in the development of the script, set and costume for each tableau. The Museum was inaugurated and opened to the public in the year 1987.

Thereafter, he proceeded to collect works of renowned Indian Artists, through visits to various Art Galleries in the country and personal visits to some of the artists’ homes to commission works for The Gallery of Contemporary Indian Art, which was inaugurated in 1992 within the premises of the Kerala Museum.

An award, the first and only one of its kind ever presented called the “DISTINGUSHED SERVICE AWARD”, in recognition of his achievements in the field of Kerala history and culture, was presented to MadhavanNayar by the Federation of Kerala Associations in North America at a Convention held in Chicago in July 1988.
In recognition of the services rendered by him to the people of Kochi, one of the early arterial roads of the City stands in his name.


Art Advisor -Sushma K Bahl

Sushma K. Bahl is an independent arts adviser, writer and curator of cultural projects. She headed the Department of Arts & Culture at the British Council, India until April 2003, leading on their arts strategy, policy and programmes.

She has led on the Festivals of India in the UK and South Korea besides artists’ residencies and collaborative cultural projects in India and in South Africa, Germany, U.K. and Bangladesh amongst others.

She was the co- director for Indian cultural presentations at the GwacheonHanmadang Festival in South Korea in 2004.

She has conceived and curated several art exhibitions including Fair & Furious based on the theme of women, Contemporary Chronicles in Miniature Art that included work by artists from India and Pakistan, Ways of Seeing that won the best curated group show IHC Art India Award, Vistaar and Convergence that focused on the interface between art, craft and design, and Annanya an overview of contemporary Indian art.

She was the Guest Director for XI Triennale-India 2005, Project Consultant for Bharat Rang Mahotsav XII, Jury Member for the 14th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh 2010, and Curator for India-ASEAN artists’ residency & exhibition in 2012.

Author of 5000 Years of Indian Art, she has edited and written for catalogues and artists’ books including those on ThotaVaikuntam, PareshMaity, Satish Gupta, Sarla Chandra, and Shuvaprasanna.

SushmaBahl is a trustee and advisory board member of a select few cultural institutions in India and abroad. Her most recent work, Forms of Devotion, is an exploration of the Spiritual in Indian Art under the aegis of the Museum of Sacred Art, MOSA, Durbuy, Belgium.