GALLERY No.I :
The key gallery (gallery no. I) serves as an introduction to the nature of exhibits in the Museum. The visitors are introduced to a short history of Goa written in the form of an open wooden book placed on a pedestal.
The gallery begins with a diorama of prehistory of Goa, when early man (approximately one lakh years BP) in hunting gathering stage, roamed the environs of Goa.
A showcase depicts the stages in dismantling of Mahadev Temple, Kurdi (talukSanguem, district South Goa) and its transplantation. A dam to be constructed on the river Salaulim, would have engulfed the temple of Kurdi in its backwaters. As an immediate measure the temple was dismantled and transplanted at a higher elevation.
A conjectural site plan of ancient city of Chandor is on display. This model is prepared on the basis of results of archaeological excavation conducted in the village of Chandor, the capital of Goa during the early historical times.
The centre of key gallery has the standing Vishnu (13th century) with a Prabhavali (Halo) carved with Dashavatara, the ten incarnations of Vishnu. Two damaged Uma-Mahesvara sculptures, Mahishasuramardini, Gajalakshmi, and standing Surya, all belonging to Kadamba period (12th-13th century).
The museum has numerous hero-stones representing naval battles emphasizing the maritime power of Goa in the Kadamba period. The bottom panel shows heroes on ships engaged in a ferocious naval battle. Hero Stones commemorate heroic death in battles and Sati Stones(sometimes shown with only a hand with bangles) commemorate wives immolating themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands who have died in battles.
The main attraction of gallery no.I is the imposing 3.6 m high bronze statue of Luis Vaz de Camoes (AD 1524-1580), the national poet of Portugal. He holds in his hand the scrolls of his poem, the LUSIADAS, which eulogizes Vasco da Gama, who succeeded in finding the sea route from Europe to India.
Wooden and ivory sculptures of Christian saints represent the art nurtured under the patronage of the Portuguese rulers of Goa. The metal bust of Shiva (popularly known in Goa as Manguesh) belongs to the 17th-18th century.
Other stone objects of the Portuguese period on display are Royal coat of Arms, Bishop’s coat of Arms, Roman Catholic Sacramental Emblems, typical Goan fruit baskets carved in stone, the tombstone of Dom Jose Cariatil, Archbishop of Crangannore in Kerala (1786), the Tombstone of Dom Diago de Noronha, the first premier captain of Daman(1560), etc. Also displayed is a large model of Old Goa with all protected monuments under ASI.