International Museum day is celebrated all over the globe on 18th May as per the International Council of Museums (ICOM).International Museum Day, serves as a platform to raise public awareness on the role museums play in the development of society today, at local, national and international level.
To promote, protect and preserve the cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir including Tribal/ Folk Art and culture there is need for establishment of more and more museums in all the districts of the State which will not only protect our ancient culture but will also boost the tourism industry in the state. The State is rich in culture and heritage but Jammu and Kashmir has only few museums. A museum provides a unique interactive experience of getting up close to things we usually only see in books, newspapers or on television. Seeing the original Mona Lisa painting is one experience and it is a totally different experience when we see one of the millions of printed versions; the perception you get something from a second hand source is often completely different to the one you get when you see something with your own eyes.
Today is International Museum Day
International tourists and even domestic tourists due to paucity of time cannot fully study the country in all its aspects during their tour. a museum provides at national level or at state level or at regional level a place where all about the nation, state or region can be learnt within a reasonable time frame. Displaying archaeological remains sculptures of historical value, manuscripts and other objects can be a source of inspiration to the tourists coming from for off places.
Museums are an important aid to our country’s cultural regeneration. A greater integration of museums with our educational system will help to spread consciousness of our country’s legacy and instil a sense of pride in young people.
In terms of education, going to a museum can bring what is taught in schools to life, by seeing artifacts or painting for example. If children are learning about the Romans for example and they go to an exhibition full of armor and weapons dating from that period, they are more likely to find it interesting and want to learn more about it. Research also shows that those who have had first hand experience of such information are more likely to retain it in later life. Museum can be an extremely valuable source of creativity, particularly platforms such as art galleries or photography exhibitions. Many people get inspired and subsequently want to try such activities themselves. Museums in the U.K are well organized and exhibitions well maintained to ensure all products and displays are kept in the best possible state of repair; this will make it possible for many generations to experience and be inspired by them.
Museums have been centers of education and culture from the earliest time. We have evidences of the existence of museums and picture galleries in India since earliest days. After independence when India was declared a democratic republic, museums have become more important in our National Life. No doubt, the volumes of information which a museum disseminates to meet the educational and intellectual needs of varied clientele, no other institution can undertake. Even some of the policy makers recognized that the traditional methods of imparting education in schools, colleges and technical institutions are not enough for the purpose.
Museums are also significant factor in attracting tourists to an area and can therefore, be instrumental in helping the local economy in terms of supplying a passing trade as well as offering local people employment.
Museum is the soul of Indian cultural heritage; it has kept the artistic creations of this beautiful land alive whereas tourism is an organization which helps the tourists discovers the beautiful aspects of our land. A museum can become popular only if tourists will visit it: similarly tourism departments will flourish only if there are places of interests, like museums in the country. Less number of museums means fewer tourists will approach the tourist department.
Museums are also instrumental to research programmers in this country. For many people undertaking research, museums provide an unveiled wealth of information and resources as well as access to archives, scholars and highly trained professionals. From times immemorial for adventures and quest for knowledge the brave men like Huen Tsang, Fahien, Ibn Batua, Marco-Polo and Columbus have descended on this beautiful earth to write in immortal language travelogues on their experience, adventures and pursuits.
The irony of the matter is that celebration and commemoration of such day has till date not translated in reality to the extent which is directly needed today.
If the state government could not establish more museum then due importance and sufficient place should be provided to the NGOs and private stake holders. As the private players have stepped into play a significant role by setting up private museums, which have played a stellar role in the growth of art.
(The author is Director Amar Santosh, Museum Udhampur)