Artefacts in city museum dumped in shed

The Government Museum in Egmore, which has faced severe criticism for its shoddy manner of storing reserve sculptures, has decided to set up an open-air sculpture garden, which will display surplus artefacts for public view.
Artefacts in city museum dumped in shed
The artefacts lying in the storage area of the museum

Chennai

While visitors are cautioned not to touch artefacts on display by the zealous personnel, the story in the storage area – housing valuable sculptures – is one of gross neglect, as these precious repositories of the past are left languishing at the mercy of natural (and man-made) elements in a shed.  
Art historian Ashvin Rajagopalan, also the director of Mumbai-based Piramal Museum of Art, said, “I got quite upset with what I saw at the shed behind the museum campus, right next to the Centenary Hall. Hundreds and thousands of artefacts are deposited in the museum as repository. The branches and trees since the last cyclone are still lying there. Inside the shed, there are various wooden and stone artefacts with numbers, which means they are documented pieces. In the Bronze Gallery, the first floor is shut, and the lights are not working. Why isn’t the museum engaging with trained professionals, to preserve this repository? I would be happy to spearhead a movement to ensure better maintenance of our artefacts,” he said. 
Another historian, on condition of anonymity, said, “The collection is wonderful and the repository is huge – but the artefacts are hardly rotated or well-preserved. The museum’s primary job is to act as a repository of culture – which is not happening here.”  
Venkatesh R, a city-based historian, said, “The surplus can be sent to the district museums in other parts of the state, which are crying for new displays.” Kavitha Ramu, Director of Museums, said these sculptures have been in the reserve stock since 1960. “There are 400 stone sculptures stored here, which we are trying to shift for display in an open-air sculpture garden which is being set up at a cost of Rs 6 lakh. This will be operational from end of March this year and the stone sculptures can withstand being outdoors.  The museum also has a reserve of 13,000 artefacts, “he said, adding, they are working towards enhancing storage facilities.

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