The Department of Art & Culture, Manipur was established in 1990. The Department earlier had its office at Khuman Lampak in Imphal East District before shifting to the premises at Palace Compound in the same district where presently the offices of the Government Music College and the Government Dance Colleges are located. Later, the Department relocated to its new building complex situated next to the Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre at Palace Compound.
The Department functions as the headquarters of the offices of the Manipur State Archaeology, Manipur State Archives, Manipur State Museum, Manipur State Central Library, INA Martyrs Memorial (Moirang), Government Dance College, Shree Shree Balmukunda Dev Government Music College, Manipur State Kala Akademi, Imphal Art College and the Manipur Film Development Corporation Limited.
The Department is headed by its Director under the supervision of the Commissioner, Art & Culture and the Minister for Art & Culture, Manipur.
Manipur is inhabited by different communities – Meitei, Chakpa, Meitei-Pangal (Muslims), and scheduled tribes, viz. Aimol, Anal, Chiru, Chothe, Gangte, Hmar, Kabui (Raungmei), Kacha Naga (Zemei/Liangmai), Kharam, Koireng, Kom, Lamkang, Maomei, Maram, Maring, Mizo, Monsang, Moyon, Paite, Poumai, Purum, Ralte, Shukte, Simte, Tangkhul, Tarao, ThadouKuki, Thangal (Koirao), Vaiphei, Zou, etc. These communities collectively possess a wide variety of material and cultural properties that form a rich repository of Manipuri culture and civilization. It is the main task of the Department to play a pivotal role in promoting and propagating these cultural assets.
The Department, while envisaging cultural harmony and emotional integrity among the various ethnic communities, seek to promote the following objectives:
a) To depute cultural troupes, artists and artisans to various parts of the country and abroad to showcase Manipuri art and culture;
b) To establish rapport with other institutions and organizations in promoting and propagating Manipuri art and culture;
c) To promote activities which seek to enhance the living conditions of the artistes, artists and artisans socially, economically and culturally;
d) To establish cultural relationship with South East Asian Countries and other countries also;
e) To strengthen the relationship between varied communities through exchange of cultural dialogues.
The Department functions from 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM in summer (March-October) and from 9.30 AM to 4.30 PM in winter (November-February). Manipur State Museum and Manipur State Central Library close every Monday, and Kangla Museum closes every Wednesday, while in these three institutions Sunday is opened.