Some wood for thought

Some wood for thought

Informative Tour

Curious Visitors at the museum. Did you know that not all wood can float?

That bamboo is not a tree but a type of grass? These are some of the facts that one can find in Bangalore’s first wood museum.

Located inside the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST), the museum is a sort of a tribute to wood that has played an important part in man’s life all along.

Information about the origin of earth, evolution of forests and trees, the vast diversity of woods, different properties and features of wood like density, colour and knots, the story of wood, along with man’s, from the pre-historic era and a gallery of indigenous trees of the country have been demonstrated here.

 “When you look back into history, wood has been there for such a long time and yet, there is so much about it that one doesn’t know. That’s what got all of us in the Institute to think of a museum for wood,” says Y B Srinivas, a wood scientist.

While his colleague, Shakti Chauhan, adds, “But we didn’t want a conventional museum with old artifacts all over the place. We wanted to show people that wood is not just for carpenters. There is also some science involved in it.”

The museum showcases the story of wood, along with that of man, from pre-historic era to the modern day.

Almost like telling a story to its visitors, the museum takes one on a journey showcasing everything one needs to know about wood. It has unique products made out of wood to even samples of trunks that are as old as 362 years.

“Wood is a versatile product, yet very complex. Its characteristics are unique and each type of wood has a story to tell. We want to tell people all this. This museum is intellectually rich and yet user-friendly for those who come here merely to understand wood,” says Shakti.

There is also a small interactive section where one can actually count the number of rings on a tree trunk with the help of a magnifying glass.

One can also try lifting the various types of wood to see which is the lightest and which is the heaviest.

“We plan to make it more interactive, especially for children, but it will take more time,” says Srinivas.

Though a 70-year-old museum dedicated to wood already exists in Dehradun, this museum aims to showcase more than just wood. The place showcases even the insects that live on wood, “We have kept a piece of trunk that has been completely eaten up by insects and even the different kinds of papers that are made out of wood,” adds Srinivas.

At the end of the tour, one can’t help but realise how important wood is to the world. With so many slogans and protests going on about saving trees, both Shakti and Srinivas believe that it is not only important to save trees but also to use them efficiently.

“Nowadays, wood is becoming expensive because people are not planting trees. It’s not enough to save the existing ones, one must also grow more trees,” they sign off.