Museums adapting to cultural change

The museum culture in the city may be undergoing several changes owing to socio-economic factors, technological advancements, and the COVID-19 pandemic.


A display of more than 100 musical instruments at the Indian Music Experience, Bengaluru.

Ram Rakshith V

Bengaluru: The city has a melange of well-preserved museums that reflect the blend of royal history, science and technology; and the art and culture of Karnataka. The museum culture may be undergoing several changes owing to socio-economic factors, technological advancements in the country, and the COVID-19 pandemic which had shut the museum doors for many months.

On the change in museum culture, the Director of Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Mr K Madangopal, said: “Being a museum professional, I believe change is always permanent. We must adapt accordingly. Science and Technology have always been at the forefront in the country for the past 10 to 15 years. Our museum educates people of varied age groups on various scientific principles and technology.”

The museum is focusing on not just displaying collections, but also on educating the visitors by employing guides. “We are trying to reach as many rural children as possible by organising exhibits such as mobile exhibition programmes. We teach them the importance of mathematics, water conservation, and space science,” said Mr Madangopal. If museums allowed students to do their projects and internships there, they would learn more about artefacts or science equipment. This initiative could also help in improving education in rural areas, he added.

The Government Museum in Bengaluru has been striving to attract a good number of visitors every day. “A few decades ago, our museum was open from 6 am to 7 pm daily because of people’s demand. But now we are open only from 10 am to 5 pm with a weekly off. Very few people are attracted towards artefacts nowadays as television and films have become the primary sources of entertainment,” Dr R. Gopal, said.

The Government Museum, Bengaluru.

Regarding the infrastructural development of the museum, the authorities have submitted detailed project reports to get sanctions from the State government. People would visit museums if they were modernised and hygienic, he said.

On the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the museum, Dr R. Gopal said: “During pre-pandemic times, we used to have 1000 tourists a day, but now just 50 to 100 people are visiting the museum daily owing to the fear of the pandemic.”

Electronic media have helped people to discover new museums in the city. “Penetration of the Internet has allowed people to know more about some unique museums. Tourists should also be given a chance to experience what they see other than just have a look at the art from a distance,” said Ms Manasi Prasad, Museum Director, Indian Music Experience, Bengaluru.

On the support from the government, she said: “Private museums across the country get support from the Union and State governments under the Ministry of Arts and Culture. They provide Rs 5 crore to set up museums. But nothing is being done for the sustainability of them.” She added that several new museums across the country had to close down because of improper funding from the government.

However, during the lockdowns, many museums in the city such as the Museum of Art and Photography converted their content into the digital medium. Owing to this technology, people from abroad were also able to enjoy the content and ambience of their museum, she added.

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