A cafeteria, a library and a space for events—a grant from the Department of Tourism hopes to get rid of the rats and the foul smell in the Bangalore Government Museum.
The Government Museum in Bangalore received approximately Rs eight crores, in funding from the Department of Tourism in 2022 for the restoration and revamping of the museum.
Dr. R Gopal, the Director of the Department of Archeology, Museums, and Heritage said, “The Detail Project Report (DPR) has been sent by the Heritage Matters team (a consulting agency working with the Government Museum for projects) to the Tourism Department. This new project is for the museum’s conservation, reservation, electrification, and curation.” The fund will help renovate the museums, which will in turn increase the footfall of the museum.
Team Heritage Matters offers consultancy services in matters related to archaeological conservation, documentation, research and more for the government museum. Apoorva, Museum Designer, Heritage Matters says, “We have already created the designs for the interiors, architecture, and structure of the museum and the new interventions. New interventions in the museums are to open a cafeteria, a space for events, and a library. Our main aim is to conserve and restore the old structure of the building, curation of the museum, documentation of articles, and catalog.” She further said that articles that are dilapidated will be conserved and documented them through photographs and descriptions.
The Department of Archaeology, Museums, and Heritage and Team Heritage Matters mentioned that the revamping process of the museum will ideally start next year. Apoorva said, “This project will be done in phases and the first phase of documenting and cataloging the articles will happen by next year.”
The Government Museum on Kasturba Road is infested with rats, not adequately maintained and certain building structures are also broken.
Winnie Jasper, a visitor at the Government Museum said, “The collections in the museum are in terrible need of maintenance. I have observed that the display cabinets are outdated and very few in number. I have noticed mold and a foul odour are present in the cases.”
He further added, “The revamp might help, but I don’t know if it’s sustainable.”Apoorva says, “This is the benefit of the fund. It will make the museum better for the public.”
A report by ReReeti – a blog about museums and the state of museums in the country, mentions that the issue with the state of museums in India comes down to funding and the underutilization of funds by museums themselves. It also mentions why the maintenance of museums is important. The report says, “Museums are the most important cultural communication in a country and that Public Private Partnerships might be an efficient way to ensure the maintenance of these museums.”
The government provides a Museum Grant Scheme since 2013 under the Department of Culture.
Dr. Baisakhi Mitra, Professor of Museology and Heritage Conservation at Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata said, “Museums have to apply for this scheme if they require funds for a specific reason. They must justify why they need the fund to the Culture department and will not automatically receive it.”
Dr. Gopal mentioned that the museum has been working with the Department of Tourism for the last four years. It was previously with the Kannada and Culture Department but has yet to apply for the Museum Grant Scheme even then. They did not feel the requirement to apply for the scheme.
Apoorva also mentioned that the museums have several inventories that go unused, and because of the lack of curation, they remain in the inventory. She further mentioned that this project not only works on curating the existing articles but also brings new articles to the museum.