At President's Estate museum, Rashtrapati Bhavan to be 'narrator' of tales

The Rashtrapati Bhavan is creating a "story-telling" museum within the President's Estate as an inclusive cultural space for the people of India.

New Delhi: The Rashtrapati Bhavan is creating a "story-telling" museum within the President's Estate as an inclusive cultural space for the people of India.

President Pranab Mukherjee said today that a major challenge that was faced while conceptualising the project was identifying the more than 10,000-sq m of exhibition space required for the museum within the Rashtrapati Bhavan Estate, which was declared a Grade-I heritage structure in 2009.

"This was innovatively handled by having a large part of the proposed museum underground, without disturbing the century-old architecture on the top, while maintaining the overall aesthetics and architectural heritage of the Estate," he said inaugurating an international conference on 'Inclusive Museums' here.

The second challenge, Mukherjee said, was to weave a fascinating story that would both captivate and educate the audience with Rashtrapati Bhavan itself being the story- teller.

With the help of the latest digital techniques of animation and simulation, Rashtrapati Bhavan, as the narrator, would outline in detail the planning and construction of the new capital of India, of its transformation from being the symbol of colonial power in pre-independent India to becoming a metaphor for independent, democratic India - inclusive and aspirational, he said.

It has taken more than a century to effect the transformation from royal and feudal museum collections -- where access was restricted to only a handful of privileged persons -- to the museum as a public space, open to all, displaying the art and culture of the people at large, the President added.

"Artefact have been gradually supplemented by contextual stories, thus turning the traditional object-based museums into activity-oriented participation centres," he said.

Mukherjee said he was happy to note that India has been chosen to be the venue for the conference in which eminent museologists from India and 21 other countries are taking part.

"The choice of India as the venue for the conference is also most appropriate as the country has had a tradition, since ancient times, of having sculptors and painters offering their masterpieces to the divine at temples," he said. 

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