Presenting the ‘Museums on Wheels’ project, which embraces the concept of “If you cannot come to the museum, the museum will come to you.” Currently touring the national capital, its primary objective is to foster an appreciation for arts and culture.
The Mumbai-based Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya’s ‘Museum on Wheels’ has successfully traveled through both urban and rural regions across India, disseminating knowledge about art, heritage, and culture.
Commencing its inaugural Delhi tour on May 18 as part of the International Museum Expo, these state-of-the-art buses, featuring artifacts, replicas, models, and dioramas, will visit prominent locations in the city until May 28. There is no entry fee required.
For the past seven years, this project has been thriving. Its two air-conditioned buses, customized to accommodate mobile exhibitions, aim to surpass the traditional museum experience and bring history closer to people residing in cities as well as remote areas.
The buses are themed around ‘In tune: The journey from sound to music’ and ‘100 years of CSMVS.’
“At its core, the project revolves around the idea that if you cannot come to the museum, the museum will come to you. We recognized the importance of arts and culture education, particularly in rural areas,” explained Atreyee Chakravarty, an education facilitator associated with the project.
“While cities have various museums, many individuals in remote areas have limited exposure to history and cultural artifacts. Therefore, we initiated this project to introduce people to the concept of museums,” she added.
Chakravarty further mentioned, “When the project first began, the Ministry of Culture provided the first bus, and since then, CitiBank has been supporting the project for the past seven years.”
Regarding the current tour, Chakravarty stated that the plan for Delhi originated from an invitation by the Ministry of Culture to participate in the International Museum Expo. “This is our first time here, and it is also the farthest the buses have ever traveled, covering nearly 1,500 kilometers from Mumbai to Delhi,” she highlighted.
“At the museum expo, we received an excellent response from individuals intrigued by the concept of a mobile museum. Numerous institutions expressed interest in creating their own museum on wheels, as it is an effective way to reach people across the country and engage them with museums,” she explained.
“In Delhi, we have endeavored to collaborate with various institutions such as the National Bal Bhavan, National Gallery of Modern Art, and the National Science Centre, among others, to showcase our ‘Museum on Wheels.’ When we parked our buses at these locations, we received an overwhelming response, and several NGOs working for underprivileged children also approached us,” Chakravarty shared.
To date, over 8,000 individuals have visited the two buses, she added.
Monika, a parent who visited the Museum on Wheels, expressed, “It was an amazing experience. Children will have the opportunity to learn more about the various musical instruments exhibited.”
Avnesh, a sixth-grade student, said, “It was a one-of-a-kind experience because we usually encounter these artifacts and antiquities in museums. Today, for the first time, I saw them in a bus. I even played the tabla, which I had never done before.”
The Museum on Wheels was stationed at the National Bal Bhavan on Tuesday. It will visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum and the Red Fort on May 24, the NGMA and the National Museum on May 25, the Sunder Nursery park and Humayun’s Tomb area on May 26, the National Zoological Park on May 27, and the Heritage Transport Museum on May 28.
(With PTI inputs)