The Patan Museum is a shining example of a well-executed restoration project. It is a part of the old palace built by the Malla dynasty and has a magnificent, gilded door that faces the beautiful Krishna Mandir in the Durbar Square. It has excellent metal sculpture, especially statuettes that have been painstakingly restored as part of a joint project between the Austrian and Nepalese governments. The palace compound that houses the museum, Keshav Narayan Chowk, was built in 1734. The courtyard has been meticulously restored, and it has become a popular venue for concerts and other events. The museum finally opened in 1997 because of the hard work of restorers.
The exhibits cover a wide range of Nepali cultural history, and among its treasures are some rare objects from the Malla era, such as the Malla throne. Many artifacts' significance within Hinduism and Buddhism's living traditions is explained here. Cast bronzes and gilt copper repoussé pieces, for example, represent the pinnacle of Nepalese metalwork over the centuries. In Patan, this type of metal craft is a living tradition. Patan is still known for its statue making, and metal craft artistry has been passed down from generation to generation.
The Museum covers a wide range of Nepalese cultural history and contains some rare objects. Extensive captions explain their meaning and context within the living traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Most of the objects are magnificent cast bronzes and repoussé work in copper.
A total of 300 objects were chosen for permanent display from an existing national collection of over 1500. Most of the exhibits are sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist deities made in the Kathmandu Valley, many in Patan's nearby workshops. Other items include those from India, Tibet, and the western Himalayan regions. They are accompanied by written commentary by scholar and author Mary Slusser (of 'Nepal Mandala' fame) that explains their artistic, spiritual, and historical significance as part of Nepal's cultural heritage. The exhibits are also intended to aid in the interpretation of the living culture that exists beyond the confines of the museum walls.