Challenges involved in Shifting the  National Museum of India

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Synopsis:  Shifting the National Museum of India as per the Central Vista Redevelopment Project has many issues and challenges.


According to the plans of the “Central Vista Redevelopment Project”, the National Museum of India will be shifted to the South Block offices as well as the North Block offices of the Indian government.

What are the issues and challenges involved in shifting the National Museum of India?
  1. First, the major issue is that the vision of urban planning for a single, linked cultural district is disregarded in the Central Vista Redevelopment Project.
    • For instance, the existing architecture plan in which the four cultural buildings are arranged form a single, linked cultural district. (Archaeological Survey of India, the National Museum, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the National Archives).
    • However, according to the Central Vista Redevelopment Project, all four cultural buildings will be set up in different places.
  2. Second, implementing the Central Vista Redevelopment Project results in Disaggregation, rather than the unification of India’s cultures. For instance, The National Museum’s collections have to be split up. Some in the Red Fort, some in storage, some in new buildings.
  3. Third, the scale of arranging packers and movers of each of the Museum’s artifacts poses a big logistical challenge.
  4. For instance, the Museum houses a variety of artifacts, from small delicate objects to as heavy as a tonne. For example, paintings on birch-bark, palm leaf, and paper, Pallava and Chola sculptures weigh many tonnes.
  5. Fourth, there is absence of more qualified conservation personnel and trained staff. They are required to file the documentation about the condition of the artifacts at the time of packing. For example, recently, Vacancies for 92 posts at the National Museum were closed as finding qualified specialists in India could not be completed for years.
  6. Fifth, the lack of public information about the collections in a museum will reduce accountability and transparency in the shifting process. For instance, in many world museums, each artifact is connected to an online location index by providing a way barcode number.
    • It allowed curators, the conservators, and researchers with access to the collections even while they were in storage.
    • More importantly, they allowed the inventory to be safeguarded. However, the National Museum has more than 2,06,000 objects, but the official Museums of India website still only has a fraction of the collection on it.
  7. Sixth, issue of cost and time. Refurbishing old buildings such as the North and South Blocks to provide the facilities for a museum will cost money and time. Also, it demands exceptional skill, and few architects have the necessary experience in adapting historic buildings.
  8. Seventh, lack of safety. Many buildings in the North and South Blocks are structurally unsafe. They are also ill-equipped to meet even the basic fire and earthquake safety norms.

Source: The Hindu

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