History at a Glance

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Are you curious about history? Do you want to learn more about arts and artefacts? Shreyashi Dasgupta takes you on a walk through museum corridors that will transport you to the past

 

City museums are in for a change, not only in the way they look, but also in the way we access them and are able to learn from them. In Mumbai, museum officials have taken concrete steps to make city museums a point of discussion amongst youngsters.

A spokesperson from the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum says, "The challenge is to get children back into the museums and explore the museum displays minutely. We have different sections and each section covers a rich history. Children tend to glance through the museum and leave. We want to educate them."

Museums now hold workshops for young explorers. These are centred around museum artefacts. Some of the workshops organised by the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum are miniature painting, Ragamala painting and pottery. These workshops are designed with a specific purpose. Museum authorities say, "The idea is to take a topic and develop fun activities around it. Our museum, for example, has a beautiful collection of pottery and through our pottery workshop we make an attempt to transfer that rich craftsmanship to the children. They also learn the practica aspects of pottery and make their own models."

13 schools have taken part in the museum activities so far, including Sacred Heart School, J B Petit and N S S Hillspring International. Charudutta Joshi, art and craft teacher, Sacred Heart School says, "I organised this trip for students of class 7. The idea was to give them practical knowledge as against supplying them with bookish information." Charudutta feels that these activities must be made part of the school curriculum to allow children to develop a broader perspective.

The response to such workshops has been amazing. Not only have private school students participated in these activities, but the BMC has also encouraged its students to be part of this programme. These workshops are conducted in three languages–English, Marathi and Hindi–to ensure that children from all schools, including those run by NGOs, can participate in the learning programmes. The Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum is currently working on a session which teaches children about the different communities in Mumbai. Apart from this they are working on a heritage club, an online magazine and a children's centre.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum, is working on a 20-minute audio visual that will capture the essence of Mumbai. The audio visual will be shown in the auditorium and will tell 'The Story of Bombay' in a multi-media format. This show will touch upon the journey from Bombay to Mumbai, India's Independence and the creation of the state of Maharashtra.

With summer vacations approaching, this could be an exciting way for you to spend time exploring the chapters of your history books.

 

UPCOMING MUSEUMS

By 2013, Mumbai will host India's first museum for cinema at Mahalaxmi, which will be run by the Films Division of India. Other museums in the pipeline include:

- Museum of Moving Images, Mumbai

- Ganges Gallery, Allahabad

- Museum of Power, Bengaluru

- Space Science Museum, Kerala

- Museum of Anthropology, Udaipur

- Oil Museum, Guwahati

- Museum of Mushrooms, Himachal Pradesh

 

INTERESTING MUSEUMS IN INDIA

- The Sulabh International Toilet Museum in New Delhi hosts a collection of facts, pictures and objects detailing the historic evolution of toilets from 2500BC to date.

- The Dolls Museum in Jaipur was built in 1974 and has a collection of dolls that portray the customs and culture of India and other countries of the world.

- The Indian Museum in Kolkata is the largest museum in India. It is the ninth oldest museum in the world and the oldest institution of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. One can observe specimens of both Indian and trans-Indian origin here.

- The Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in Bengaluru is not a museum in the classical sense, because it has interactive exhibits. It is more of a science centre where each floor of the museum is dedicated to a scientific discipline. For example, the Engine Hall exhibits engines of various automobiles, machines used in industry, a jet aircraft engine and other mechanical devices.

- The Air Force Museum in New Delhi is a unique museum that houses information and knowledge on aviation history and equipments used by the Air Force.

- The National Crafts Museum in New Delhi is one of its kinds in the whole of the Asia Pacific region. This museum boasts of having the finest collections of artworks in all of Asia.

- The RBI Monetary Museum in Mumbai exhibits representative coinage of India, paper currency, gold bars as well as financial instruments and curiosities.

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