Experts are confident that museums can survive the lockdown, and suggest ways in which artefacts can be digitally showcased with interactive displays
S Jayakumar, founder of Prastara, an NGO based in Chennai with a mission to create awareness about the culture, history and heritage of India spoke to DT Next. “Many museums in India haven’t digitally ocumented historical objects. During this pandemic, if such pieces are uploaded as photos or videos on websites, people will surely have a look. Scholars will be eager to contribute to such initiatives,” opines Jayakumar. “Digital documentation can also be done to archaeological sites. What if the government conducts a live session on their social media page of an excavation site? People will be excited to see archaeologists in action as we can’t travel anywhere now.”
He also suggested ways museums can seek funds. “They can perhaps ask the public to adopt say a Chola period bronze that requires a certain amount of money for maintenance. Likeminded citizens will join hands to offer their support. Post lockdown, the price of entry tickets should be increased. Museums can even earn by selling replicas of ancient paintings or statues.”
Arjun Balakrishna Ullas, partner and business development director at Ilum Studio, who has worked with museums for content curation, says, “Post the pandemic, the government should invest on archaeological sites and cultural centres as they desper ately need support. Also, creating interactive kiosks will be crucial.” When asked how a history enthusiast can spend their lockdown days, Arjun says, “There are many online courses and scholars sharing their research. They are all available for free.” He concludes by suggesting that newbie history lovers can start via Google Scholar or websites of national institutes to access research papers written by academics.