At 61, National Museum at Delhi to get a facelift

"The repository has embarked on a rejuvenation programme to reach out to the maximum number of people," the museum's administrator, C.V. Ananda Bose, told IANS.

The revival package beginning Oct 25 will become part of the activity roster of the 61-year-old museum after its completion. The museum has 200,000 collectables, some of which have never been seen.

"The objective is to improve facilities, exhibit the best of regional art and culture, enhance the museum's aesthetics by introducing architectural renovations and adopting changes in the science of museology," Bose said.

"Many collectables have not yet seen the light of the day. They are still in the store. We want to circulate the artefacts from the store to the galleries so that viewers do not have to see the same exhibits over and over again," he said.

Every museum is supposed to change and circulate collectables periodically, he added.             

The museum has drawn up a 25-point agenda to push its reforms over the 100-day period, Bose said.

"The spotlights of the module are weekly exhibitions, networking with other museums, organising workshops for children to involve them in the activities of the museum, redoing the lobby and implementing new scientific display technology," the administrator said.

The museum has 27 galleries, of which seven are closed. The museum administration will reopen three of the seven closed galleries under the programme.

"While one gallery will be devoted to musical instruments, two galleries will exhibit  wood carvings. The management of collectables, including acquisitions, will be controlled with the aid of computers," Bose said.

Contemporary museology techniques stipulate that "collectables should be displayed scientifically under controlled temperature and minimum humidity", he said.

"We will try to ensure that artefacts are preserved in better environs. Each exhibit requires special lighting, depending on its nature, aesthetic value, age and condition. The illumination can range from bright, dim to artificial LED lighting," Bose said.    
      
The museum's calendar is full for the next three months. "Soon after the Commonwealth Games, the museum will begin its state-specific weeks. Every month, one state of India will be represented for a week in a special expose comprising culture soirees, art displays and discussions over a period of 100 days," he said.

The museum has acquired land in Noida, a satellite town of the national capital, to build a new campus for its National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, Bose said.

An ambitious project to put together a "cultural encyclopaedia of India codifying 5,000  years of Indian culture is also in the pipeline".

"We are networking with museums in the states to build the database for the culture compendium. It will help researchers and students," he said.

In January 2011, the National Museum will play host to a major exhibition from China, curator Vijay Mathur said.

The repository was inaugurated Aug 15, 1949, by former governor general of India C. Rajagopalachari.

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