The section of the Hanuman Dhoka palace west of Nasal Chowk, overlooking the main Durbar Sq area, was constructed by the Ranas in the middle to late part of the 19th century. This wing bore the brunt of the damage in the 2015 earthquake. Many exhibits were destroyed and the Department of Archaeology has estimated that reconstruction will take years. It is unclear at this stage whether such offbeat treasures as King Tribhuvan’s favourite stuffed bird survived the disaster.
The museum celebrated King Tribhuvan (r 1911–55) and his successful revolt against their regime, along with memorials to Kings Mahendra (1955–72) and Birendra (1972–2001). Exhibits with names such as the ‘Royal Babyhood’ kicked off some fascinating recreations of the foppish king’s bedroom and study, with genuine personal effects that gave quite an eerie insight into his life. Some of the exhibits, such as the king’s boxing gloves, the walking stick with a spring-loaded sword hidden inside and his dusty, drained aquarium, added some surreal moments. There were several magnificent thrones, plenty of hunting photos and the obligatory coin collection.