Inclusive museums a good idea: Mukherjee

New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said creating museums for all and moulding them in civic spaces would serve society in several ways.

“Museums necessarily have to address the changing needs of a tech-savvy younger generation which has the ability to access the whole world in their palms today,” he said while inaugurating a three-day international conference here on ‘Inclusive Museums’ with ‘Museums as civic spaces’ as its theme.

He said the theme of the conference was “apt” as it talks about including everyone in its programme and creating museums as civic spaces.

“The theme for this year’s conference, ‘Museums as Civic Spaces’, is extremely apt. I am happy to note that India has been chosen as the venue for this important conference in which eminent museologists from India and twenty one other countries are taking part,” he said.

“The conference would help India to make its museums contemporary,” he said while appreciating the concept of the international conference on museums.

Mukherjee also expressed happiness over India being chosen as the venue of the conference to be attended by over 170 people from 21 countries.

“The choice of India as the venue for this conference is also most appropriate as India has had a tradition, since ancient times, of having our sculptors and painters offering their masterpieces to the Divine at our temples. Our temples were like multi-purpose museums seats of learning, studios for artists, workshops for craftsmen and halls of music and theatre for dancers,” he said.

The president also talked about story-telling museums that are coming up in different countries including India.

“…I would like to make a special mention of the new genre of story-telling museums that are coming up in different countries including our own. In contrast to object-based museums, such places are event-based where relevant stories are woven around artifacts and presented in story-telling format with the help of newly emerging digital technologies.

“Animatronics, virtual and augmented reality, holographic projection, laser and electro-luminescence have never been so effectively used in history museums for story-telling,” Mukherjee said.

“People have seen brilliant story-telling museums in Mount Vernon or the Lincoln Museum in the US. In India, an experimental venture in the Town Hall of Kolkata inspired the setting up of a state-of-the-art story-telling museum in the Indian parliament focusing on the democratic heritage of our country.”

Speaking on the occasion, Saroj Ghosh, a former director general of the National Council of Science Museums, said making museums inclusive was a challenge in the fast changing world.

The museums must not be for certain target groups alone if they have to be inclusive in nature.

“Issues like whether we are capable to build museums which are attractive to all would be discussed during the conference,” he said.

Kailash Satyarthi, a Nobel laureate, also expressed happiness over the theme of the conference, saying museum for all was a good idea.

The ‘Inclusive Museum’ would help disseminate information and knowledge to all.

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