GUWAHATI, April 21 – The museums of the country can overcome the challenges they are facing by developing their individual new visions. They should not blame the visitors, rather they should blame themselves for the quagmire they are in now. For, they have failed to attract the visitors because of the dullness in their feats.
This was the observation made by noted museologist and Director General of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai Dr Sabyasachi Mukherjee. He was delivering a lecture on Museums of tomorrow and developing new vision with reference to the CSMVS at a function of the two-day concluding ceremony of the Platinum Jubilee celebration of the Assam State Museum that began here at the Kanaklal Barooah Auditorium of the State Museum here today. Noted museologist and former Director General of the National Museum Dr RD Choudhury presided over the function.
Dr Mukherjee said that museums must change their approaches today and they should also emerge as institutions linked with education, study and enjoyment. However, there is a problem in arranging for their funds, as the Union Government is spending only one paisa of the every Rs 100 it allocates against the annual expenses for administering the country, he said.
The findings of the 1936 Government of India survey on museums that now museum was displaying the nation’s heritage in a comprehensive manner and the quality of the curation was also low, are still relevant, he said.
The CSMVS also faced a number of challenges till 2007, but the challenges are addressed in a befitting manner, and taking advantage of its location, building, collection, curation, and autonomy in management, it has been able to overcome the challenges and to make itself more relevant in this changing world, he said.
Later, delivering the foundation day lecture at a function organised by the Indian Art History Congress at the same venue, Dr Mukherjee underlined the need for a new perspective at looking at the past.
Dr Mukherjee, who spoke on the Stupa of Mirpurkhas, which was part of a ruined Buddhist establishment in the Sindh province of Pakistan, regretted that few people are genuinely concerned about the rich cultural heritage of the country.
He said that to preserve the rich heritage it was important to encourage young scholars to take interest in art and culture of the country. Dr Mukherjee in his speech elaborated on the Buddhist stupa made of sun-dried bricks and highlighted the socio-cultural and religious ambience that marked the age when the Stupa was constructed. He also dwelt at length on the style and workmanship of the Stupa, mentioning the influence of Gandhara and Greek.
The programme was presided over by Dr RD Choudhury, chairman of Indian Art History Congress.