Union Culture Minister Calls for Reinventing of Museums to Stay Relevant in Digital Age
The Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and Development of the North- Eastern Region, Shri G. Kishan Reddy inaugurated the first of its kind, a 2- Day Global Summit in Hyderabad on ‘Reimagining Museums in India’. Participants from countries such as India, Australia, France, Italy, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States are participating in the summit being held virtually on 15th-16th February. The Summit inauguration event was also attended and addressed by Alberto Garlindini, President of International Council of Museums; Weber Nodoro, Director General of International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of the Cultural Property and Smt. Lily Pandeya, Joint Secretary Ministry of Culture.
Shri G. Kishan Reddy while addressing the summit inauguration said, “India is a land of rich cultural heritage and this needs to be preserved, propagated and perpetuated. I believe our museums provide a wonderful medium to achieve these goals”. He added, “Today our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji has given all of us the mantra of Vikas and Virasat. With this vision for Vikas we are ensuring that the poorest of the poor receive the benefits of development and with Virasat we protect our wonderful heritage”.
The summit has been organised under the aegis of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the flagship program to mark 75th anniversary of India’s independence and celebrate the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements. The Union Minister said, “As we celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, we are proud to renew our focus and dedication to preserving, protecting, and perpetuating our cultural heritage. I believe that museums play a pivotal role in reviving our glorious past to life. Today India’s 1000+ museums are instrumental in not just showcasing and preserving the cultural heritage, but also educating future generations’.
The Union Minister highlighted the role of other ministries and departments in promoting and upgradation of the museums present across the country. He said, “the Government of India is also developing 10 museums on tribal freedom fighters to recognise their contribution in our freedom struggle and is continuing to support specialised museums such as Textiles and Crafts museums, Defence Museums and Railway Museums”. Giving more details, the Minister said “As per the mandate, the Ministry of Culture also works for supporting and promoting our museums. Since 2014 the Ministry ofCculture has funded 110 museums across the country and in order to promote scientific temper, 18 science museums are also being developed. Apart from this, the Archaeological Survey of India which functions under the Ministry runs 52 museums across the country”.
While recognising the efforts of the Ministry of Culture, the Union Minister said, “The Ministry of Culture is working on an inclusive model that involves artists, museum professionals and educators and places them at the core of the museums in the country. Our museums need to reinvent themselves to be relevant for the 21st century in the new digital age. We need to ensure that our museums are more accessible so that our citizens can own them like their own parks and playgrounds”.
Later, addressing the media, the Union Minister also highlighted the efforts that are being made to bring back the county’s stolen heritage from abroad. Shri G Kishan Reddy stated, “95% of the heritage that was stolen or taken away has been returned during the tenure of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Out of the 212 antiques that have been returned since 1976, 199 were returned after 2014. Among these 157 antiques have been returned from the USA recently”. The Minister added “This once again shows the Government’s commitment to Vikas and Virasat”. The Minister also spoke about the various initiatives in the state of Telangana including a proposal for a Science City in Hyderabad, the support for 10 Museums in the state including the Salar Jung museum and the Tribal Museum for which allotment of land is being awaited from the state government of Telangana. Similarly, the Union Minister also highlighted that 6 museums are being supported in Andhra Pradesh including a Tribal Museum in Lambasingi.
Alberto Gariandini, President, International council of museums in his inaugural address said “The museums of future are already being built and museum professionals are creating new connections with communities and experimenting with innovative forms of cultural engagement. He further said that museums are one of the most trusted institutions and are in unique position to promote inclusion, diversity and dissemination of scientific information.
Webber Ndoro, Director General, ICCROM in his address said that India is in position to develop inspiring Museums. This initiative will go a long way not only for India but for the rest of the world. He also added that Museums are not only buildings with art collections, they are rich repository of culture heritage and experiences.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion Ms. Lily Pandeya, JS, Ministry of culture said that Museums familiarise the visitors with country’s history which is essential in understanding its present day cultural, socio-economic, political structures. She further added that museums convey degree of appetite society has for cultural pursuits and patronage. She further added that the two-day global summit is a unique chance of dwelling into unique priorities for Indian museums.
The Global Summit brings together leading luminaries, domain experts and practitioners in the field of museum development and management from India and around the world to discuss best practises and strategies. Over 25 museologists and museum professionals will delve into reimagined priorities and practices for Museums. An outcome of this knowledge sharing will include creation of a blueprint for development of new museums, nurture a renewal framework, and reinvigorate existing museums in India. Approximately 2,300 people have registered to attend the event and participation is open to the public.