A museum of moving images in Mumbai, an oil museum in Guwahati, one on mushrooms at Himachal Pradesh.
India finally seems to be taking to museums. The Kolkata-based National Council for Science Museums, the nodal agency under the ministry of culture, has got proposals for setting up 20 museums across India.
The offers are from educational and research institutes, corporate houses and public sector undertakings. “We have agreed to the proposals in principle. The agreements are being drafted,” said G.S. Rautela, director general of the Council.
By 2013, Mumbai will host India’s first museum for cinema at Mahalaxmi, run by the Films Division of India. “The agreement has been signed, work will begin soon,” said Rautela. Apart from displaying artefacts such as cameras and photographs, scripts, it plans to screen regional films.
“Cinema is a reflection of society and social attitudes,” said V. Packirisamy, director, Films Division. “The museum will trace cinema’s move from celluloid to digital in the last 100 years.”
“Every society should restore and conserve culture… It’s the only way a common man will relate to history,” said Rautela.
Museums are a medium of continuing education by self-study, said Sadashiv Gorakshakar, ex-director, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vaastu Sanghralaya, originally the Prince of Wales Museum. Globally, the movement to set up museums began in the 70s. “Then, India’s focus was on development. Now, the government has set aside funds,” he said.