Permanent Exhibition

The Tibet Museum’s permanent exhibition, “I am Tibetan and This is my story” is a museum made by and for Tibetans. Its aim is to challenge the representations of Tibet and the Tibetan people that feature in museums in China, Europe and North America. Here, we tell a different story. Tibet in this museum has a past, a present and a future. Through objects, archives, photographs and personal testimonies we highlight Tibet’s historical, political and international importance by showcasing our culture, recent history in exile, and the teachings and legacy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We also address the many crises facing Tibetans in Tibet today such as human rights abuses, exploitation of the environment, and curbs on cultural preservation. The Tibet Museum highlights our cultural and political struggle, and our resilience. The objective of the museum is to educate, increase awareness of Tibet, and tell our story of exile to a global audience.

I am Tibetan,This is my story.

  • 1. Tibet: Our Culture (INTRODUCTION)

     This section introduces visitors to the idea of Tibetan culture as an act of resistance. Drawing on Lhakar, a Tibetan-led, non-violent protest movement, the displays celebrate Tibet’s rich culture through dress, religion, food and literature. The displays also highlight the many ways Tibetan culture has been rebuilt and preserved by Tibetans in exile.

  • 2. Who Writes Tibet’s History?

    This section includes a detailed timeline of important moments in the history of Tibet, from the first Tibetan king to the Chinese invasion in 1950. This section also showcases objects, film, and documents which testify to Tibet’s status as an independent nation.

  • 3. Who is the Dalai Lama?

    This section focuses on the life and work of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It traces out the history of the Dalai Lama lineage and includes a 108 questions and answer interactive that focuses on the Dalai Lama’s life and messages and his international influence and impact.

  • 4. Occupation

    This section bears witness to China’s occupation of Tibet and its devastating aftermath. Through photographs, objects and historical documents, the display examines the impact of the ‘Seventeen-Point Agreement’, the ‘Democratic Reform’ and the ‘Cultural Revolution’ on Tibetan governance and culture.


  • 5. Resistance

    This section calls attention to Tibetan resistance to China’s policies in Tibet. It draws on key moments in the fight for resistance – the 1959 uprising, the Mustang resistance, the Nyemo revolt, and the 1987, 1988, 1989 and 2008 uprisings in Tibet. Through commissioned film, personal testimony and photography the displays ask for quiet and respectful consideration of the many ways Tibetans have resisted China’s continuing occupation of Tibet.

  • 6. Escape

    This section documents the difficult journeys undertaken by Tibetans who left Tibet for exile. Using personal testimonies, film, donated objects, and photographs the displays map out the many reasons why Tibetans left Tibet and the dangers faced along the way. This section also includes an Archive of Escape, a chance for visitor to record their own personal and family memories of escaping and travelling to safety.


  • 7. Exile

    This section reflects on the Tibetan exile experience. It sheds light on rebuilding Tibetan society in exile, the creation of a Tibetan Government in Exile and, through a series of visual histories and personal testimonies, how Tibetans re-established cultural institutions across India and the wider world.


  • 8. Tibet Today

    The section highlights the impact of China’s policies on Tibet today. Using personal testimony, the research of human rights groups and investigative journalism the displays map out some of the tools used by China’s Communist Party to repress Tibetan culture while at the same time turning Tibet into a police state whose people are under constant surveillance.

  • 9. The Environment

    The section considers China’s impact on Tibet’s environment and concerns over large-scale deforestation, mining and dam projects, and the impact of glacial melting on Tibet and its neighbouring countries, including India. The displays also ask visitors to reflect on Tibet’s importance as the Earth’s ‘Third Pole’ and provider of fresh water and food security for over a billion people in nations across South and East Asia.

  • 10. Being Tibetan:

    In this section visitors are introduced to a new generation of Tibetans who are re-defining and re-imagining what it is to be Tibetan. Here, we showcase the success stories of Tibetans living around the world in the fields of literature, arts, sports, medicine, music, education, academia and politics.