Two New Galleries Thrown Open for Public National Museum Completes 55 Years of its Existence

Two New Galleries Thrown Open for Public National Museum Completes 55 Years of its Existence 

Two new galleries in National Museum were thrown open for public in New Delhi today on the occasion of the completion of 55 years of museum’s existence. Inaugurating the galleries Shri Narendra Kumar Sinha, Secretary Union Ministry of Culture said that museum-going experience in India until now has been largely for sighted persons. The National Museum has undertaken an excellent initiative in establishing a special gallery called “Anubhav: A Tactile Experience” to expand access to all visitors, particularly visitors with disabilities. He said the importance of this multi-sensory and multi-disciplinary approach to engaging with art and the museum is yet unexplored. I believe that National Museum’s tactile gallery Anubhav is a big step forward in this direction, and thus commendable, the Secretary added.

Speaking on the occasion Director General, National Museum, Shri Sanjiv Mittal said, “We are committed to expanding access into our museum for all visitors. While this is a learning curve, we will continue to make efforts to make the museum open and accessible to all and welcome everyone with open arm.”

National Museum was opened for the public on December 18, 1960. Every year on this day the museum celebrates its Foundation Day.  This year the day was celebrated with four programmes – opening of two new galleries and starting of two new programmes.

National Museum opened a special tactile gallery for the first time to expand access to visitors with disabilities. The Gallery is titled Anubhav: a Tactile Experience. It has on display 22 tactile replicas of museum objects, carefully chosen from the vast collection of National Museum by its curators representing 5000 years of Indian art. The idea is to provide a rich and engaging experience to visitors aesthetically, historically and intellectually. The objects range from archaeological finds, sculptures, tactile impressions of paintings, utilitarian objects, ethnographic objects and decorative arts. The Gallery has been developed with the help of Unesco, Saksham (an NGO working with blind persons), Open Knowledge Community (OKC), Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT) and the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD). The Gallery will allow full tactile access accompanied by an audio-guide and Braille labels.

The exquisite bronze sculptures of National Museum constitute one of the most important and representative collections in India. The new bronze gallery inaugurated today has nine sections showcasing regional pieces from North India, Central India, Western India, Eastern India and South India. In addition, delicately cast images of Saints and Poets, Goddesses, Buddhist and Jain images and deities from the Nepal and Tibet are also on display. Masterpieces from Phophnar (Madhya Pradesh), Nalanda (Bihar), Rajasthan, Gujarat, Nepal, Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are of particular interest as they cover a wide range of stylistic features that  have been seen through the development of Bronze art in India.  Apart from depicting iconographic details from the Indian pantheon of deities, the objects portray high level of technical excellence in metallurgy and bronze casting through 5th to the 17thcenturies that continues till date.
A new Audio Guide Tour was also inaugurated today. The new NM audio tour covers sixty-four of the most prominent objects from the collection of National Museum, spread across 20 galleries. Covering pre-historic objects like the Dancing Girl from Indus Valley Civilisation to modern renditions of Buddha’s life scenes on an ivory task, the tour provides the visitor with an all-round experience of the history, tradition and art of the Indian subcontinent. In order to welcome to a wider range of visitors, the Audio tour has been developed in five languages – English, Hindi, Japanese, German and French.

The National Museum has also introduced from today research oriented Internship programme. It aims at creating a platform for interns to enable dialogue with experts and appreciating art and culture. The internship is offered to students of Graduate and under graduate level who wish to learn about the museum practices and acquire professional skills. These are unpaid internships and require a minimum commitment of six weeks and maximum of 12 weeks. The programme is structured in two parts, i.e. summer and winter Internships. The summer internship would be from May to July and the winter internship would begin from December to February every year. However, for this year’s winter internship i.e. 2016, the internship period would be from February to April, 2016.

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