A museum is a place where history becomes alive. Not “The Night at The Museum” kind of alive, though one wouldn’t mind that too! But they do tend to cast a spell; one look at the exhibits and you know they have a story to tell. Not quite literally we mean, but they do convey their message “strong and hard” and believe us when we say, that it is the museums that preserve the legacy that we are all a part of. They are in fact the memorabilia of things that have transpired in the past and they ensure that every information survives to the very last. So, in terms of the museum jargon, we “curated” a list of pretty cool Museums that we came across and we think you don’t have to be all “scholarly” to get the hang of them thereof.
With a unique name such as this, the museum’s concept is also equally unique. It deals with the various aspects of ‘conflict’ and its antidote with the help of art, culture, law and behavioral science. The timeline chosen by the museum is the socio-political conflict in Gujarat since its inception in 1960. The museum is divided into 6 different spaces with each having a strong distinct character.
The Gallery of Disputes, classifies the types and causes of conflict in our society. It uses the highly imaginative and comprehensible medium of animated story telling inspired by the animal fables like Panchatantra and Animal Farm. The story about a donkey living in a forest which has the same conflicted social set up like ours is supported by sounds, props, animation, lights shadows etc.
The Empathy Alley, consists of the silhouettes of the post-independence political leaders which their real original speeches that reflect their ideologies.
The Moral Compass, displays the Indian constitution and different constitutional acts. The visitors can actively participate by touching, reading, discussing and interpreting their views about the constitution.
The Memory Lab, believes that where there is conflict, there are pent-up emotions such as pain, hurt, vengeance etc. Instead of suppressing them, the memory lab helps the visitors vent them out creatively and constructively by enabling them to write deep-felt notes and adding them in the empty jars on the shelves.
The Power of New is a sound installation which talks about the possibility of creating a third space in case of polarity in conflicts.
The Sorry Tree, encourages apology as a solution by letting visitors apologize to the branches of a tree.
FANATTIC SPORTS MUSEUM, KOLKATA
The brainchild of the famous journalist, writer, and historian Professor Boria Majumdar, this museum is dedicated to the love of sports. It covers the journey of India in the Olympics right from the very start and the history of cricket since its inception. The intention of the museum is not only to preserve the sporting history of India but also to encourage all Indian to patronize multiple sports.
The museum boasts of a large collection of sports-related artifacts that were once the personal belongings of iconic sports personalities. To name a few sportsmen; Pele, Sachin Tendulkar, Usain Bolt, Roger Federer etc have their personal belongings on display in this museum.
Sachin’s 100th 100 gloves, bats, and jerseys, PV Sindhu’s Rio medal winning jersey and significant belongings of many other Indian cricketers have also made it to the shelves.
PARTITION MUSEUM, AMRITSAR.
Partition; a subject most poignant and a memory most painful found itself a Museum dedicated to its aftermath. An initiative by the Arts & Cultural Heritage Trust of India, India’s first partition museum came into being in October 2016. It took 70 years since the fateful event which lead to loss of lives and mass displacement, to establish a memorial for those who suffered and perished. Situated in the heart of Amritsar, in the Town hall it a part of the heritage street which starts with the golden temple. The exhibits in the museum include photos, newspaper clippings and personal belongings of the of the victims and survivors. There are also video interviews with the survivors who are now elderly. There are 14 galleries in the museum and the last one is called The Gallery of Hope which encourages the visitors to write messages of peace and love on leaf-shaped papers and stick them on a barbed-wire tree. This is symbolic of improving the ties between the nations.
SALAR JUNG MUSEUM, HYDERABAD.
Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salar Jung 3 was a former Prime Minister of the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad whose private collection of artifacts over a period of 40 years is responsible for the creation of the Salar Jung Museum. It is one of three National Museums in India and was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in the year 1951.
The collection comprises of valuable antiques dating as old as the 1st century and covers a large range of regions like Japan, China, Burma, Nepal, India, Persia, Egypt, Europe and North America. The museum is known to have the largest one-man collection of antiques in the world. The museum regularly organizes exhibitions and workshops in collaboration with international museums. Seminars, workshops, and other activities are also organized as a part of its educational activities.
INDIRA GANDHI MANAV SANGHRAYALAYA, BHOPAL.
A larger than life set up that is spread in an area of 200 acres in the Shyamla hills, this museum is one of its kind in the country. It is a museum of Anthropology which categorically deals with human evolution in India. It is an autonomous organization of the ministry of culture and it hosts 8 open-air exhibitions and 12 indoor galleries.
It’s a ‘show and tell’ of the traditional way of living of different tribal cultures in the country and their relevance in the modern context. More than 40 Tribal cultures are showcased with their actual life size establishments created by the expert craftsmen of each community. The museum features pre-historic and traditional technology used in the early days, their mythology and beliefs, art and crafts, costumes etc. The museum library has adequately compiled books, audio-visual media and a huge collection of ethnographic specimen.
A History buff or not, museums are meant for people of all sorts. Gone are the days of “boring” for museums now are informative, educating and entertaining. The last time we checked, an in-depth knowledge of things never does hurt any feelings!