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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Month long Museum Excellence programme

Inauguration of Vivekananda Memorial Programme Photo: Pib.nic.in

Union Minister of Culture and HUPA, Kumari Selja, has stressed the need to introduce specializations in vital areas of museums in India such as preservation, conservation and collection management. Speaking at the inaugural function of “Vivekananda Memorial Programme for Museum Excellence” here today she said, Indian museums must also strengthen their roots by improving their infrastructure, working systems, and staff capacities. She said, India has over a thousand large and small museums. Over 90% of these are funded by the State or Central government. The Archaeological Survey of India itself maintains 44 Site museums, some of them in the remotest parts of the country such as Dholavira in Gujarat, and others at well-known World Heritage Sites such as Sarnath and Agra. National Museum is known for its wide-ranging and prestigious collection of over two Lakh works of exquisite art, covering more than 5,000 years of Indian cultural heritage. She said, they all strive to play a key role in cultural exchange and education.

The Minister said, in the 21st century, there is a need to address issues of modernization and up gradation of museums in the country by employing state-of-the-art technology to make them interactive and interesting. She said, today parallel with the museums of the world, Indian museums are becoming inclusive centres of learning and community participation. They are focusing on service to society. The Minister said, while on the one hand, the Ministry of Culture provides schemes for Financial Assistance for ‘Setting Up, Promotion and Strengthening of Regional and Local Museums’ it has also actively initiated the Museum Reform Programmes in 2010, in which fourteen key areas have been identified for improvement of museum services. Various complimentary initiatives are being undertaken to enable exchange and learning for museum personnel under the Museum Reform Programme.

Swami VivekanandaPhoto: Pib.nic.in
Paying rich tributes to Swami Vivekananda, the Culture Minister said, cultural exchange has at its center the philosophy of ‘tolerance’ and ‘universal acceptance’. These ideas were mooted by the great Indian Philosopher, Swami Vivekananda in his historical speech on September 11, 1893 at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, USA. She said, we remember him as the first Cultural Ambassador and Advocate of inter-faith understanding who spread the spirit of peace and cooperation from India to the West.

The Minister said, the month-long Museum Excellence Programme has been organized in collaboration with the Art Institute Chicago and a Vivekananda Memorial Plaque has been installed at the Art Institute to commemorate the historic event. The Minister said, the programme will cover important aspects of museum leadership and excellence through its annual internships for Indian museum personnel at various departments of the Art Institute Chicago. This will allow hands-on experience to Indian museum professionals that can be practically applied and made successful in the country.

The Secretary, Ministry of Culture Smt. Sangita Gairola and Mr. David Thurm, Chief Operating Officer, Art Institute of Chicago also spoke on the occasion.