With the summer heat on the rampage, rampant power cuts and restless kids at home, parents are in dilemma over outings for the young ones. Malls and movies seem to be the only option resulting in heavy rush at these places. But then, these visits lighten your purse even as they brighten your mood.
Can there be anything which is educative, entertaining and of course economical too? Well, drop in at your nearest museum. Though much-neglected, these centres of learning enable you not only to get a peep into our history, culture and traditions but also on every subject under the sun. Many of them have entertaining programmes including light and sound shows and interactive tools and gadgets.
From dinosaurs to joy trains, ropeways to space shuttles, Kolkata’s Science City is an enduring educative entertainer. At the city’s Police Museum, some of the spine chilling incidents of crime are mentioned along with display of the weapons of assault and even the skulls
and skeletons of victims.
The museum at the residence of Netaji Bose displays the car he used to escape from the police while at Belur Math one can see the bed and beads used by Swami Vivekananda.
One can get an insight into the lives of our national leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Indira Gandhi etc. at museums spread across the national capital.
There are also unique museums such as, Shankar’s International Dolls Museum in Delhi which has one of the largest collections of costume dolls anywhere in the world.
The National Philatelic Museum showcases rare Stamps, first day covers & special cancellations from all over the globe.
The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets has been established with the aim of educating students about the historical trends in the development of toilets while the Parliament Museum provides us an insight into our genesis and growth as the world’s largest democracy. There are also museums dealing with subjects ranging from traffic to textiles, railways to air force and navy.
Surendra Patel, an interior designer by profession, has set up, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, a quaint rural complex where visitors can savour authentic Gujarati village cuisine. Collected from all over India, the endeavour of the Utensils museum is to demonstrate the purity of form and shape in these objects of utility. The pot to store water in, utensils to cook and serve in, spoons, rollings pins, a huge vessel, in which buttermilk was churned et al.
There are museums dedicated to history as also nature while many palaces, from Jaipur to Hyderabad to Kochi and Gwalior, have their own museums devoted to the history of the respective royal families.
And now for those who do not wish to venture out of the comforts of their sweet homes, they now have the option of visiting India’s first Virtual Museum (www.vmis.in) which was launched recently in the national capital.
The museum of heritage, music, culture and architecture of temples of India in digitalized form was recently launched in the national capital by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), an institution of international repute.
This project is financially supported by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The virtual space will serve as an arena for the wider exhibit and greater access to the Institute’s comprehensive collections devoted to the visual and sound heritage of India.
The Virtual Museum, even though curated, will be an interactive space for users to create their unique experience. It will exhibit collections of not just audio but of still and moving images, and text devoted to specific themes.
With foot falls falling by the day, more and more museums are expected to go online in the days to come, the mantra being if people don’t go to museums, the museums must go to the masses.
Happy museum hopping!
(The views expressed by the author are personal)