Goa’s San Thome Museum is Back in Time!

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San Thome Museum is the finest jewel in Goa’s Treasure Chest- a must experience at least once in lifetime with family and friends. “San Thome Museum is the only Museum that has touched the every aspect of the Technical Revolution that started in 1800 AD. This revolution was started by Thomas Edison (ironically he was debarred by the teachers from attending school but tutored by his mother) who invented many features now encased in the smartphone. San Thome Museum is Jewel in Goa’s treasure Chest” and landmark Museum which will take you Back in Time without time machine. It is a Museum of Antiques and Technical evolution “─ Thomas Antonio da Costa (Curator)

Mangaluru: From a 1865 Mangalore Roof Tile manufactured by Lobo and Sons-Mangalore to a 1919 Remington 10 typewriter of a First World War era; to a 1880 Schedmier (Germany)Grand Piano, perhaps the only one of-its-kind in Asia, that is still in fine working condition; to a 1929 Grandmother’s Cupboard fitted with a good luck coin; to a 17.5 kg 1941 GEC ceiling Fan; to a 1899 Gramaphone Record player by Thomas Edison; to a hand cranked ‘Diana 1949’ gramophone also known as Columbia Phonograph, besides the vintage working model of Akai X-355D (28.5kg) and Akai GX-255D (16.5 kg) spool tape player; to varieties of vintage calculators, cameras, clocks/watches, radios, crockery, glasses/bottles etc etc-you will find them all at the San Thome Museum, owned by Thomas Antonio da Costa of Varca-South Goa. This museum will take you ‘Back in Time’ to the ancestors of modern inventions and visitors believe that this venture will contribute immensely to the tourism sector.

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In an age when local patriots complain of heritage homes being sold out to tourists and corporate entities, here’s a story of a Goan who began picking up lost and overlooked elements of heritage to construct a memoir of technological evolution. Located in the serene backdrop of the coastal village of Varca, the museum of antiques and technical evolution contains a vintage collection of artefacts which are repaired and restored to reflect a gallery type presentation. Thomas Antonio da Costa, the brain behind the project, claims that the museum is more of an information and study centre for school and college students who are not aware of the advances made in the field of recorded music, recorded movies, still photography, typewriting, calculus, illumination and much more.

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Being an electrical engineer himself, Thomas would get fascinated by the fast-paced research and development taking place in field of science and electronics. “The young are so obsessed with their present-day gadgets that they are unaware of the evolution of the various features in the ‘tablet’. I thought I must bridge the gap between generations by exhibiting these items and by bringing back the antique of the yore, the elders in our society have felt the sense of nostalgia,” da Costa said, adding that many tourists and locals alike have shown tremendous support ever since the museum was opened on Jan 19, 2014.

San Thome museum has working collection artefacts belonging to different fields of technology. The ‘Remington 10’ (1919), a World War I era typewriter, is a must see along with the ‘Imperial 58’ (1940), a World War II era typewriter – a similar model is housed in the National Museum of Victoria, England. It also has the hand cranked ‘Diana 1949’ gramophone also known as Columbia Phonograph, besides the vintage working model of Akai X-355D (28.5kg) and Akai GX-255D (16.5 kg) spool tape player. ‘Time keepers’ is another section of old vintage clocks. There is also a section that houses the silent movie projector and a black and white movie projector, while ‘pixel-less’ still cameras constitute the photography section. The German manufactured ‘Grand Piano Schiedmier’, claimed to be one of the only known working pianos in Asia, fitted with ivory keys from the 1880s, adds to the grandeur of the museum.

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There is also a corner for crockery, where a rarely seen ‘garafao’, antic bottles, cheers goblets are placed for viewing. Wine bottles belonging to World War I army barracks with a safety lock has a tale to tell to every curious visitor. Da Costa has been working on this project for the last many years. “I collected these items by advertising on newspapers, answering to newspaper classified ads, through my professional career travels to various parts of the world and also visiting the scrap yards. Most of these were literally junk pieces which I restored to a working and presentable condition,” he said.

Da Costa has also paid attention to the architecture of the building that is constructed by keeping Goa’s Portuguese heritage in mind. The house that hosts the museum has old and discarded shell windows (Placuna Placenta locally known as Mendios) and antique wood which gives the building a feel of Portuguese architecture. Placuna Placenta shell windows were used as a substitute for glass in Goa’s Portuguese era. The museum is certainly loaded with heaps of interesting facts relating to traditional artefacts and serves as a hangout spot for the techno-geeks, both young and old. These ancient artefacts are rich in historical tales of evolution, which help connect with the past and realize how standard and quality of life has improved over the years.The museum hopes to serve as an alternative mode of education to books prescribed in the syllabus to aspiring young techies in the state.

Da Costa further said, “I am proud to say that many elderly guests who visit my Museum are thrilled to find the long lost life partners safely showcased at the Back in Time Museum. The mechanical calculators, the typewriters, the cameras, time keepers, postal weights which were professionally used by our elders were the second best friend/ partner after their spouses. Ironically/Unfortunately, the smartphone is the first best friend/partner and then comes the husband or wife. We have taken trouble to present the earliest invention to the latest at every stage which is the first time in the world. The best part of it all is, you can get these beauties the closest you can get to and even experience their working with the Curator’s permission”.

“The Grand Piano, the only known working piano in Asia, with ivory keys, Schiedmier Germany is 136 years old. We allow our guests to play it (we do check their background) which no other Museum allows to do. This Museum is huge in cumulative form, where you can satisfy your taste buds of Art and Antics because it covers various sections of improvement in civilisation. The traditions of a bride going to her new house with the gifts given by the parents for their beloved child which ironically was named as dowry are explained in a traditional aspect.”

“The hidden coin in the cupboard (Almirah) is explained as a good luck charm. In case the wedded couple in their life goes bankrupt, there is hope that this coin will bring back luck. The bride’s mother would give a gift of a picture of Jesus, Saint, Mother Mary or a Goddess/Ganpati (by our Hindu brothers) made out of hand embroidery is explained through as old as 120 years old cross-stitch work of Saint Anthony. The biblical Jonah’s fish is brought alive through the whale bones artwork. The various collections of water bottles and the only collection featuring wholesale wine bottles and retail wine is of different shapes and sizes and corks dating from 1800 which is the evolution of glass containers” added Thomas.

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When you have done after a half hour tour of the museum, you can have a photo session in front of the “Apshi” 3.3 tonne Anchor displayed in the museum courtyard. Same pattern anchor was cast for Titanic Ship at Dudley, England, which will surely take you back to romantic times at the sea. When asked how he created a museum with such an exotic collection – Thomas merely answered, “Its the work of God!”

The San Tome museum (Back in Time) is situated in the San Thome Simplex, Chadwado, Varca, Salcette. This museum is open between 9:00 am and 8:00 pm. See more at: http://planetgoaonline.com/places-to-visit/Museums/San-Thome-Museum#sthash.QndoKmWE.dpuf; www.goamuseum.com

Contact : 0832-277100, 9822363917 Email : thomocomplex@yahoo.co.in

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