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Museum in makeover mode

Bhubaneswar, May 18: The State Museum is all set for a major makeover. After inauguration of two more galleries on textiles and pattachitra today, the museum is going to have a five-year strategy for refurbishment.

The textiles gallery has a collection of traditional ikkat from Bargarh, tussar silk, tribal designs such as Kotpad saris, Khandua silk, appliqué work under the anthropology section of the museum. For the first time, the gallery has included an audio-visual account of the tribal weaving products.

The pattachitra gallery has a host of paintings on the themes such as the Jagananth cult, Krishna leela, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Laxmi Puran and Narasimha Puran. Popular legends such as Kanchi Vijaya, Tapoi katha, Navagunjar and Nava rasa are also displayed.

Apart from the two new galleries opened on the occasion of International Museum Day today, the other major attraction was a special exhibition of rare artefacts from the museum’s own collections.

Silver and gold coins of the Mughal era collected from Nabarangpur in 2003 and a beautifully carved ivory craft rescued from Jeypore palace were also displayed on the occasion.

The Telegraph had earlier carried several reports on the state of affairs at the museum and the new objects that it plans to display.

Today’s special exhibition also included rare copper plaques belonging to different dynasties across the state, bronze statues recovered from Achyutrajpur in Khurda district, Jain carvings excavated from Jajpur district, palm leaf manuscripts, wood and horn works and traditional jewellery and furniture received from various royal families.

Culture secretary Arabinda Padhee said audio-visual guides would shortly be available in all galleries of the museum.

“We have started it (audio-visual guides) today at the textiles gallery and it will be replicated in all other galleries as well. The museum staff will be sent for exposure visit to other major museums in India and across the globe to know better museum practices adopted for better display and conservation,’’ he added.

Padhee also said that more galleries would be set up on common themes such as Rath yatra, Bali yatra, tribal culture, historic Kalinga war and literary figures of the state.

Director of Allahabad Museum Rajesh Purohit said: “The audio-visual guides and well-educated and professional staff can help attract more visitors to the museum.’’

Suggesting use of the museum campus as a place of activity to organise cultural event in future, Purohit said display of exhibits of the month, approaching school students to visit the museum, availability of low-priced souvenirs and photographs could also boost footfall to the museum.

The well-known museum expert, however, said that the museum’s renovation would be meaningless without university-level research activities there. “We must encourage people to spend time on the compound and discover new things by studying the collections,’’ he said.

Director of state culture department Sushil Kumar Das said closed-circuit television cameras would be installed in the museum this year. “We have already installed a generator for 24X7 power backup. A modern cafeteria with discounts for students and a cloakroom for visitors are also in the pipeline,’’ he said.