Spectrum: A hoard of nostalgia

Spectrum: A hoard of nostalgia

Items in the museum

Remember those good old days? When we were young and the time went by at a leisurely pace. When our lives were centred around Cadbury’s and Horlicks. And, who can forget those cassettes that went in the radios and the professional looking typewriters? Now, imagine a place where you can relive it all, the objects and the fond memories associated with them. 

Manjushree Heritage Packaging Museum is one such place in Bengaluru, which features a collection of packaging material, old print advertisements and electronic items. Majority of the 2, 000 and odd distinctive items in the museum are from the personal collection of the founder, Vimal Kedia. Given his passion for packaging technology, the museum chronicles the evolution of packing and tracks the changes that have happened in the packaging of consumer goods. While the museum was established in 2003, it was open to the public in 2009 and has been featured in the Limca Book of World records in 2011 for its vast collection of artefacts.

Old-world charm 

The packaging industry as it stands today is, in fact, the result of years of evolution with the earliest packing materials being animal skin, bark, hollow gourds etc. Based on changing needs of human societies, materials have been developed over centuries with major innovations being brought about in the 20th century. The objective has always been to improve preservation and hence evolved materials like wood, glass, metal, steel were used and finally, cellophane was invented in the 1920s. 

The collection at Manjushree includes rare, vintage collectables that not only highlight the value of the actual piece but also focuses on how the packaging designs for the same have evolved based on the changing consumer needs. What is really interesting is that the collection not only attracts experts but also the common folk as it gives them a perspective on the world of marketing and packaging.

As one enters the museum, one is greeted by a cornucopia of items that has oodles of the old-world charm. Similar objects are neatly grouped together and arranged in ascending order of evolution. The exclusive articles on display include aluminium tiffin carriers that were tall, bulky and had a small chamber to feed in burning coal so that the food remained hot and fresh.

The evolution of the same into sleeker ones in steel is quite appealing. Similarly, several models of the ‘eagle flasks’ that used to be a luxury decades ago are also on display. The transformation of the Pepsi can from the last 50 years from being a large 3-piece spot welded piece to a sleek, lightweight can is also showcased. Yesteryear radios, transistors, typewriters, copiers and sewing machines are aplenty in the museum.

The evolution of the gramophone record sleeves from simple monochrome designs to colourful flexographic prints is depicted well. The good old colourful tins that stored cookies and toffees, the earliest Cadbury caramel boxes as well as tins of Lactogen, Amul Spray, Parachute oil, Parle sweets and Monaco biscuits are sure to bring a smile on your face. There are liquor bottles, antique spectacles, shaving sets, razor cases and vintage Faber Castell and Staedtler stationery sets, apart from the first mason jars and pyrex dishes on display in the museum. 

Information & trivia

The best part about the museum is that there are display boards on the history and development of objects stored here. For instance, there is an exhaustive collection of suitcases and their evolution from being wooden containers to trunks to leather briefcases and finally to the modern wheeled ones is quite enthralling. Similarly, there is comprehensive information about packaging for salt and pepper shakers, jewellery boxes and cigars. The trivia related to glass and paper products including their history, development, uses, pros and cons is noteworthy.

Apart from artefacts, the museum has several posters of old advertisements. The ads of Kellogs, Palmolive soap and Nestle provide an insight into the advertising strategies of the past. All in all, it is a wonderful initiative that not only takes one back wistfully to the good old days but also makes for an engaging experience. For more information, contact