Most of the tourists visiting Goa would balk at the idea of visiting a museum. However, it is not an overstatement to say that the museums are as rich as the beaches in their own particular way. They are steeped in culture and heritage and are store houses of Goa's rich and colorful history.
The Archaeological Museum is just 9 kms from Panaji, in Old Goa, an old centre of the erstwhile Portuguese rulers. The museum transports visitors back to the Portuguese era holding monasteries and impressive churches, fortress walls and administrative buildings all built in Portuguese style. At the ground floor photos of prehistoric rock carvings at Usgalimal are on display. Beautiful Jain bronzes rescued by customs and excise officials from smugglers are also on display at the museum. At 8 of the themed galleries, ceramics, coins, stamps, bronze statues, wooden sculptures, ancient maps, Paleolithic tools and over 2,000 years old archaeological finds are put up for public view. The museum is a part of the Basilica de Born Jesus church where the mortal remains of Saint Francis Xavier are preserved.
The Naval Aviation Museum was established to pay tribute to the Indian Naval Wing. It is the first of its kind in Asia. The museum is divided into two sections: out-door and inner section. The pride of the museum, twelve aircrafts from short Sealand to the Lockhead Super Constellation and engines of aircrafts, are kept at the out-door. The inner section has been done up like an aircraft where weapons, sensors and pictures of the liberation movement of Goa and martyrs, history of Indian Naval aviation and other naval equipments are on display. The museum is 6 kms away from the port of Vasco-da-Gama.
Goa State Museum: An eclectic collection of local significance like vintage artifacts and statues are on display within this equally ornate building. The museum is also called the State Museum and is located at Panaji. Various Hindu art works and photographs of Usgalimal's prehistoric rock carvings are also on display here.
Museum of Christian Art houses some of the finest prototype of the craft seen in Goan churches that were built during the Portuguese era. The museum is located within the convent of Santa Monica in old Goa. It is also a repository of gold items, precious stones and rosaries and ivory images of the Christian faith. The museum is the only one of its kind in Asia set up through a collaboration between Calouste Gulbentian base of Portugal and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), New Delhi, in 1994.
Museum of Goa Daman & Diu holds archaeological and archival materials. But there are also antiquities from the various Hindu dynasties that once ruled Goa as well as important inscriptions and manuscripts, coins and textiles. Christian-Portuguese artifacts like furniture and art objects are also found here. It is situated in Panaji.