Selja opens Britain-aided museum staff training programme

January 9th, 2012 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) Museums have played an important role in our society by bringing people closer to their roots, Union Culture Minister Kumari Selja said Monday, inaugurating a training programme for museum professionals.

“Museum visits as an integral part of school life were important events which shaped our understanding of the growth of human life on earth,” she said.

“The Leadership Training Programme, being organised by the ministry in collaboration with the British Museum, is a unique programme especially designed for Indian museum professionals,” said Selja.

“There are over 1,000 museums in India. Over 90 percent of these are funded and maintained by the central and state governments and few renowned museums have also been set up through private efforts,” she said.

Twenty professionals from 12 national level museums will participate in the programme here.

The Archaeological Survey of India manages 44 museums located near important historical sites, some of them in the remotest parts of the country like Dholavira and Lothal in Gujarat and others at well-known World Heritage Sites such as Agra, she said.

“Some of the oldest museums have been established by the British and their collections are a combination of natural history and antiquarian remains like the Indian Museum in Kolkata, which will be celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2014, Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly Prince of Wales Museum, in Mumbai,” she said.

She said her “ministry has made efforts to organise suitable training for our museum professionals to open up their imagination and improve the working so that we are able to replicate the best practices being followed by international museums”.

J.D. Bevan, British high commissioner-designate to India, and Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, also spoke on the occasion.

Jawhar Sircar, secretary of the department of culture, was presented with the first-ever British Museum medal for his “extraordinary contributions” in piloting museum reforms in the country. The medal was presented to Sircar by Bevan.

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