International Museum Day 2022

“this is the pathology museum’ Dr.Kapadia said pointing to the corridor on the right after a pause he continued, “and this is the sanctuary” it took us a while to get what he was saying he was calling the faculty rooms as sanctuary. I do not know really know to the date he was talking of a safe haven for the workaholics. Anyway.

The Manipal Pathology Museum was a favourite haunt of mine, though the anatomy one was considered the best in Asia.

On top of my mind museum is a building where artifacts historical scientific, artistic or cultural interest are stored and exhibited.

A museum is an institution that is devoted to the procurement, care, study and display of objects of lasting interest or value.

Merriam-Webster.

The theme this is year is power of the museum.

Museums are important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding and peace among people. It is an amazing document of the journey of people their heritage and their story.

Today the 18th of May is the world museum day, makes it the perfect day to muse on the museum.  So, what is a museum…

Museums, demonstrate, narrate or tell a story much better than textbooks. Essentially the cultural or historic museums, for history is but a big story.  History is everything that has already happened right up to the current moment. That is a lot of stuff, that museums cover.

Walking through a museum one connects with the past, but it also opens the door to the future for a new or different dialogue. It helps to create a community of learners without boxing them into slots. Sometimes I feel that museums are wormholes that transport us to another universe, maybe a parallel reality. A lot depends on the person who guides you through the museum.

The lockdown has opened up a new space for museums. The digital space. This provides better accessibility to artifacts. Though the live experience may not be there.

If one were to classify museums then we would be looking at:

  • Archaeological museums
  • Art museums often referred to as galleries.
  • Encyclopaedic museums which cover various topics.
  • Historic houses that are converted to museums for various reasons.
  • Historical museums where artifacts are curated for their vintage value.
  • Living history where artists perform historic events. Light and sound events at various historic sites fall under this category
  • Maritime museums.
  • Military and war museums.
  • Mobile museums these are ambulatory and move from one place to another.
  • Science and Technology Museum. Planetariums, sea walk displays all form a part of this.

Science and art are generally at odds with another –competing for academic attention and laurels, but in a museum, they work together beautifully. Museums preserve global and human history in a concrete way: they preserve what is real. At the end of the day, it is not about the artifact but about the experience. A museum allows us to experience an alternate reality through the artifacts that it houses.

In a manner memory is our own personal museum. Our cabinet of curios and curiosity our ‘Wunderkammer’ it will never fill up; we always have room for something new or strange or marvellous. It does not need dusting either. It lasts as long as we do. Of course, we cannot let public walk around it, however we could take relevant exhibits and share them. Share what we know. We just cannot stop collecting the artifacts.

For those who are interested in being scientific, anthropology or art curators. Museology is a good career option. To know more visit the Institute of Museology.

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