The beginning of the Odisha State Museum returns to the year l932, when two eminent Historians, Prof. N.C. Banerjee and Prof. Ghanshyam Dash of Ravenshaw College, Cuttack began gathering of archeological fortunes from different spots. The little Museum was then housed inside the premises of the College. In l938, by an appropriate request, the Government of Odisha changed this core into the Provincial Museum of Odisha and delegated Committee of Management comprising of the Principal, the Head of the Department of History and three different Professors of the College.
At first, it was just an Archeological Museum with a gathering of models, earthenware, numismatics, copper plates and examples of expressive arts. With the developing enthusiasm of the staff and individuals, the artifacts were redesigned in an orderly way. Stone figures were adjusted in three gatherings identified with their styles, for example, Gandhara Art, North Indian Art, Odisha Art, and each gathering were subdivided into Buddhist, Jain and Brahnmanical pictures. Earthenware protests and coins were likewise sorted out as per the spots they were found in, their age and sorts.
One of the most significant aspects of this museum is its manuscript gallery. Some of the rare palm leaf manuscripts about 50,000 in number are housed in this gallery. Covering diverse subjects like religion, philosophy, astronomy, astrology, poetry, science, medicine, mathematics, warfare and the crafts, these manuscripts are a repository of artistic expressions of that time.These manuscripts were made by the incision of Oriya script on a dried palm leaf with a stylus. The manuscripts at the museum depict highly symbolic scenery with costumes, jewellery, hairstyle and facial expressions similar to stone sculptures of Odisha (Orissa).