The history of the Directorate of Research, under the Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar, goes back to 1951 with the appointment of a Research Officer to conduct Historical Research of the then NEFA. Shri L.N. Chakraborty was happened to be the first Research Officer of the Department, who joined on 16th June, 1951. In the year 1954, the Department was organized and strengthens under the guidance and direction of Dr. Verrier Elwin, the then Advisor of Governor of Assam on Tribal Affairs of NEFA appointed by the Government of India. At the initial stage three sections mainly Culture, Philology and History were created to conduct Research on their specialized fields. A group of dedicated Research Officers were appointed to conduct Research documentation of their culture and customs to enable the Administration for proper planning of their development and also to preserve and project of their life and culture to the outside world. Dr. Elwin was the Head of the Research Department till his death on 22nd February, 1964, who retired on 1973. During the period 1969 to 1996, besides the aforesaid three sections of the Department, Reference Library, Archive, Registering unit and Publication Section were added and two new section viz, Museum and Archives, Archaeology were created bifurcating the Culture and History Sections. The Department was declared as a major Department of Government in March 1989. The Department was functioning at Shillong since beginning to May 1986 and shifted to Itanagar, Capital of Arunachal Pradesh in June 1986. The Central Museum which was organized at Shillong in 1955 also shifted to Itanagar in later part of 1989 and renamed as Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum. The foundation stone was laid by Shri R. Venkataraman, the then President of India, on 3rd January, 1988 and the State Museum was formally inaugurated by Shri R.D. Pradhan, the then Governor of Arunachal Pradesh on 1st January, 1990.
At present the Department has five sections namely – Culture, Philology, History, Archaeology, Museum and Archives; and two other associated sections are Reference Library and Publication.
The Director is the Head of office and Commissioner/ Secretary (Cultural Affairs)is the Head of the Department under Hon’ble Minister of Cultural Affairs of the Government.