The development of Biographical Museum is a post war phenomenon in India. The building or house in which a great man spent his life is maintained as a historic building for the remembrance of the great life. In some other case Biographical Museums are established after collecting exhibits of a great man in a new building. Gandhi Memorial Museum at Barrackpore is housed in a building - a good example of this type of biographical museums.
On 30th January, 1948, 'the Prince among men', as described by once adversary of Mahatma Gandhi and former Governor General of South Africa, General Smuts, while paying his tribute to Gandhiji on his Martyrdom, was done to death. After normalcy was restored the then National Leaders, both in the Government and the Constructive work-field, decided to raise a Memorial Fund by public contributions to carry on the national-reconstruction work the Father of the Nation was continuing even after independence. The Gandhi Memorial Fund was thus instituted subsequently and around twelve crore rupees could be raised before long and with this corpus amount Gandhi National Memorial Trust or Gandhi Smarak Nidhi came into being.
Among other programmes the Nidhi decided to establish a Memorial Museum at the national level to collect, preserve and display materials connected with the memory of the Mahatma and in 1949 the first Gandhi Memorial Museum or Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya was inaugurated in New Delhi. Later on, in consonance with Mahatma's idea to reach everybody, it was decided to establish Regional Museums Board or Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya Samiti was started and under it four regional Gandhi Memorial Museums or Gandhi Sangrahalayas came up.
The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya for the Eastern Region came up at Barrackpore in the year 1961 and after initial endeavours was thrown open to the public on the 7th May, 1966. The gate is not charged here and every service it renders is free of any charge. The objects are the same, as in the case of the first Memorial Museum, i.e., to collect, preserve and display materials connected with the memory of the Mahatma, disseminate his life, thoughts, activities and programmes for public benefit through different museum-processes and depict also his relations with the Eastern Regional Provinces including the North Eastern States. From the year 1971 the Barrackpore Sangrahalaya has become an autonomous institution run by a Managing Committee.