Consecration and re-opening of the National Museum, Paro Ta Dzong- A Tribute to His Majesty the King coinciding with the 40th Birth Anniversary celebration
Paro Ta dzong was built on the promontory of the eastern spur of Paro valley directly above Rinpung Dzong in 1649 by La Ngonpa Tenzin Drugdra, the first Paro Penlop or Governor of Paro. The Paro Ta-Dzong was built as a guardian watchtower for Rinpung Dzong, to keep close watch on the movement of enemy forces from external invasions and internal oppositions.
In 1960, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck decreed that the historic fortified Paro Ta Dzong be renovated to house the National Museum of Bhutan, the first museum in the country. It was opened to the public in 1968. Since then, this building serves as the only National Museum in the country, where local and foreign visitors can have access to view the unique set of collections of artifacts and objects that narrate the heritage and traditions of Bhutan.
In the year 2011, Paro Ta-dzong was affected by the earthquake of magnitude 6.8 on the Richter scale. The building sustained considerable destruction, with the upper section of the stone wall on the main tower collapsing and stress cracks throughout the lower sections.
The conservation of Paro Ta Dzong was started in the year 2014 with funding support from the Government of India under the Project Tied Assistance grant of the 11th Five Year Plan.The project was implemented by the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and was completed in the year 2019.
The conservation of this historic monument was carried out strictly in accordance to the conservation principles to preserve and enhance intrinsic cultural heritage values of a heritage building by taking appropriate and feasible intervention, maintaining the authentic values associated with the heritage structure.
The National Museum was closed to publicfollowing the destruction caused by an earthquake in the year 2011. However some of the museum exhibits from the National Museum were displayed for public in the secretariat building of the National Museum. With the consecration and re-opening of National Museum, the exhibition space in the secretariat building will be hosting temporary exhibition to the public in future. The major difference that can be seen in the current state of the National Museum is the state of the art service amenities (modern museum lighting system, securitysurveillance system and emergency exits) incorporated within this historic and traditional watch tower.
The consecration and re-opening of the National Museum, Paro Ta Dzong through virtual platform is dedicated as a tribute to His Majesty the King coinciding with the 40th Birth Anniversary celebration. The virtual tour of the Museum is now online and can be accessed via www.nationalmuseum.gov.bt