‘Museums are not merely storehouses of cultural relics,’ says Sabyasachi Mukherjee


In 2017–18, the museum added 32 new displays to its assortment obtained as presents. Besides these, a number of show equipment had been additionally bought and obtained as presents

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) turned 97 on January 10. In an interview, Director General Sabyasachi Mukherjee talks about classes discovered since he took cost in 2007 and the highway map forward. Excerpts:

What are the teachings you’ve discovered about operating a museum in Mumbai?

There had been many components liable for in the present day’s state of affairs which we would have liked to review about trendy museum observe. The challenges necessitating this are elevated competitors from different world museums, technological development, influence of the web, static artwork collections and different sources, authorities indifference, insufficient human sources, lack of human curiosity and consciousness, inefficient processes, fast-growing city life, cultural battle and world politics. With these in thoughts, the museum had taken sufficient measures in 2008 to remodel all its galleries, and its fundamental method in direction of museum observe. The most troublesome lesson was to remodel the employees.

What has been key to creating CSMVS related to Mumbai?

We realised we needed to modernise the museum — its show, upkeep, customer services, training and safety. The museum started its modernisation programmes 10 years in the past with the thought to remodel the museum from a national-level repository of antiquities to an institute of worldwide normal. The fundamental aims had been to make the museum visitor-friendly and likewise cater to a spread of completely different customer profiles, to create a clearer and higher understanding of the gathering and Indian arts basically, to try in direction of high-quality academic programmes and outreach, to ascertain a state-of-the-art conservation studio for the preservation and conservation of its assortment, to create a civic area for social debates and to provoke inter-cultural dialogue inside completely different faiths. The modernisation plan has benefited virtually one million individuals who go to this museum annually. It has additionally enhanced the picture of the museum in India and the world.

Is the museum actively increasing its collections?

Our museum is probably one of the few museums within the nation actively buying artwork. It purchases artwork objects from non-public collectors and licensed artwork sellers annually in session with consultants and members of the artwork buy committee. Besides antiquities, the museum additionally purchases up to date miniatures, textiles, ornamental artwork, up to date crafts, and works in trendy and tribal artwork types. In 2016–17, the museum added 221 new displays to its assortment, of which 205 had been obtained as presents. In 2017–18, the museum added 32 new displays to its assortment obtained as presents. Besides these, a number of show equipment had been additionally bought and obtained as presents. Such equipment are necessary as they are helpful to fill within the gaps within the narrative of numerous short-term and particular exhibitions.

Is the museum’s collaborative mannequin, which culminated within the ‘India and the World’ exhibition in 2017-18, going to be adopted for future exhibitions?

To us, collaboration means friendship — a brand new relationship between institutes, organisations or people based mostly on mutual belief and respect. The path-breaking exhibition ‘India and the World: A History in Nine Stories’ for the primary time within the historical past of museum motion in India, concerned 28 Indian museums and three non-public collections.

What can we count on on the Children’s Museum, which can open this yr?

The new Children’s Museum at CSMVS goes to create a mannequin for the federal government in addition to up to date society. An try has been made to grasp the significance of play and free atmosphere in baby growth. We are planning to open it subsequent month or the start of March. The Museum might be by the youngsters, for the youngsters. The first exhibition might be curated by a bunch of youngsters who had been chosen by writing and portray competitions held at CSMVS. The CSMVS Children’s Museum might be an extension of the museum’s mandate to encourage studying by objects and artefacts in a fun-filled, interactive method. It will show a set of toys, youngsters’s work together with some of CSMVS’ core collections equivalent to miniature work, cash, pure historical past, and archaeological collections. Its aims are to create a studying area for kids, giving a possibility for open-ended artistic play that’s free of efficiency scrutiny. It might be an area the place youngsters can search solutions in an experiential method, and can introduce interdisciplinary artistic experiences.

The museum has a particularly energetic training division. What function has it performed within the museum’s personal development as an establishment?

We have launched a quantity of artistic and revolutionary training programmes. The widespread thread connecting all of the actions initiated by the Education Department of CSMVS has been a want to rethink the function of a up to date museum. We initiated Museum on Wheels (for those who can’t come to the museum, the museum will come to you); Children’s Museum (by the youngsters, for the youngsters); School Education Programme; Academic Programme; and Metro City Outreach Programme According to me, museums are not merely storehouses of cultural relics however an archive of our tangible and intangible heritage and an innovation laboratory for the longer term.

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