State museums on digital platform soon

Anvita Srivastava
Saturday, 18 May 2019

Garge said, “When I joined as a director here two years ago, I realised that there was no dedicated website. Thus, I decided to create a portal. But people were skeptical about it as having all museums on the web can be a threat to security. Considering it, we started taking step towards safeguarding it.”

PUNE: “Digitalisation increases the life of the paintings and artefacts. Taking this cue, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums (Government of Maharashtra) will soon launch a dedicated website which has information about all 13 museums of Maharashtra. “We intend to launch it by this Independence Day,” Tejas Garge, Director, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums. He was speaking with Sakal Times on the occasion of International Museum Day which is celebrated on May 18. 

The process of digitalisation of antiquities and paintings of these museums was already underway. Under a pilot project initiated last year, the directorate has completed the digitalisation of 70 per cent of paintings of Nagpur Central Museum and few paintings of Shri Bhavani Museum, Aundh in Satara district.

Garge said, “When I joined as a director here two years ago, I realised that there was no dedicated website. Thus, I decided to create a portal. But people were skeptical about it as having all museums on the web can be a threat to security. Considering it, we started taking step towards safeguarding it.”

He further said, “The first step was to safeguard the objects and ensure the safety of these museums. To ensure that, we have installed CCTV cameras in all 13 museums and have also installed the DFMD-handheld metal detector. Our aim was to ensure the security and second step was to bring information about museums in the public domain. After taking permission from the government, we started working on the content of the museums and protected monuments.”

“The English version was finalised but since it was a government’s initiative, it has to be in Marathi. Hence, we are currently working on the translation. It is likely to get completed by July or August and we are hoping to launch it on the Independence Day. The website will cater from a layman to scholars who are working on specific research interest subjects,”added Garge.

Garge also informed about the process of digitisation taking place in the museums of Nagpur and Satara. He said, “Digital copies of Nagpur paintings will reduce the manual handling and we can easily lend it to the scholars. And, if it gets destroyed, we always have a digital back up.”

Curator of Nagpur Central Museum Virag Sontakke said, “There were 250 paintings in Nagpur museum that belonged mostly to 18th and 19th century era. These are a collection of rich historical paintings like Deccan style, Pahari style, Maratha style and Peshwa style. It houses paintings of famous artists from pre-Independence as well as post-Independence. It has paintings of famous artists like Raza, Gaitonde, Baburao Painter, Haldankar among others.”

“We are also planning to have the information in Braille script. Besides that, the scholars who are researching on these paintings can acquire a digital copy from us for a minimal price,”added Sontakke.

Sontakke said that 70 per cent of the total paintings have been digitised and it was done by Nashik-based artist Prasad Pawar, who is an international research artist. He has digitally restored the paintings with his high-resolution photography.

Pawar, an alumnus of Abhinav Kala Vidyalaya, Pune, feels that digitisation increases the life of these paintings. He said, “My aim was to digitally restore and share it with the next generation. Digitalisation increases the life of these paintings and artefacts. It is done by regular photography as we create high-resolution digital images ensuring the proper colour tone and other technical aspects.”

City-based Indologist and historian, Saili Palande Datar feels that digitalisation of the museums will engage people in a better way. She said, “It was a good idea as going digital way will help in the democratisation of the museums. It will help the researchers by reducing the hassle of the long widening process of series of permissions. Information on the website will help in making museums accessible for everyone and engage people in a better and effective way.” 

Director of Drona Foundation, Consultant to UNESCO, Advisory Committee to Archaeological Survey of India Shikha Jain, also echoed the same sentiment. She said, “Digitalisation was the way forward to make information accessible. It will facilitate both the curator of the museum and as well as the scholars. It helps in making these museums more accessible.” 

She further said, “In the last three-four years, awareness has increased about the museums. With the help of technology and digitalisation, the experience has evolved as there is a sensor board display of information in the museums that makes your experience enriching.”

FREE ENTRY TO MUSEUMS
On International Museum Day on May 18, there will be free entry to all the 13 museums that come under the directorate. These museums are in Nagpur, Nashik, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Satara, Marathawada, Osmanabad and Sangli. Special programmes such as exhibitions and heritage walk have been organised. There is a special arrangement of guides in these museums to facilitate the visitors.

EVENTS IN CITY
Programmes at Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum on Saturday
- 10.30 am: Heritage walk with Vice Principal of HV Desai College Ganesh Raut 
- 11 am - 12 noon: A session with beauty expert Leena Khandekar
- 12 pm - 1 pm: A session with Ganesh Raut who will give information about the wars
- 1 pm - 5 pm: A session with Vilas Karandikar who will give information about the cuisines of ancient time.

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