Museums can incite human curiosity and create heritage awareness

Photograph of Qila Anandgarh Sahib taken by Bhai Dhana Singh in 1934

CHANDIGARH, Punjab—It is an accepted fact that museums play [an] important role in heritage preservation and maximizing the reach of heritage material. The renovation of ‘Guru Gobind Singh Museum of Martial Arts’ is an important step in this direction. This museum has been renovated with the initiatives of Shri Guru Harkrishan International Centre of Excellence for Museum, Jagdhari; Punjab Digital Library and Chandigarh Museum and Art Gallery in Kapal Mochan in district Ambala of Haryana. Representatives of these organizations Mr. Parampal Singh, Davinder Pal Singh and Dr. P.C. Sharma shared the details of this project in a press conference called in [the] Punjab Digital Library.

Heritage material like coins, paintings, manuscripts, photographs, maps and newspapers will be displayed in the museum, which will be open for visitors from November 7 onwards. The annual mela on the occasion of Guru Nanak Ji’s birth anniversary is supposed to invite 7-8 lakh visitors. The press conference was called to convey the information about [the] museum to visitors so that more people could visit the museum.

Addressing the press conference Mr. Parmpal Singh said that museums play important roles in spreading awareness about heritage. [He has taken initiatives in this direction in the Jagdhari area]. He established a museum in his college and preparations to start a course for Museum Education [are] at an advanced stage. Most of the government museums in that area are non-functional due to inadequate staff and other facilities. Parmpal Singh’s efforts have resulted in renovation of ‘Guru Gobind Singh Museum of Martial Arts’.

Punjab Digital Library (PDL) has collaborated with this effort right from its inception. PDL started digitizing manuscripts, rare books, newspapers, magazines and historical documents in 2003. It has digitized more then six million pages and one million of this stock is available online ( PDL has given valuable exhibits to ‘Guru Gobind Singh Museum of Martial Arts’ for display. These exhibits include Hukanamas by Sikh Gurus and Panj Granthis of 1750 to 1850 period. Important texts of Ayurvedic medicine, coins of Sikh Misl, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s and other princely states of the region are part of these exhibits. The inaugural issue of Khalsa Akhbar Lahore (1886) is going to be displayed prominently. Davinder Pal Singh, Executive Director, PDL said, “We are expanding out activity by being part of collective effort to renovate ‘Guru Gobind Singh Museum of Martial Arts.’ Our primary objective is digital preservation of heritage material and putting this material in reach of masses is next step for heritage awareness. In this direction this museum is going to be an important step ahead.” He further added, “Museums incite interest in heritage. If museums can arouse curiosity among visitors they can become catalyst in heritage preservation.”

[A four day national workshop, exhibition and seminar on historical and socio-cultural perspectives on united Punjab is also being organized by the Punjab Digital Library and International Centre of Excellence for Museum Education Jagadhri in collaboration with Dept. of Archaeology and Museums Govt. of Haryana. The workshop will take place from November 6 to November, 2011 as a part of the grand celebrations of internationally acclaimed ‘Mela’ to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.]

About 25 eminent artists from all over [India] will be participating in the art workshop to paint and generate works of art/paintings on Sikhism, folk art & cultural and architectural heritage of united Punjab.

The art exhibition will be comprised of five sections viz-e-viz marshal art and manuscript, numismatic section, literary and architectural heritage, life, philosophy and contribution of Sikh Gurus and folk art of Punjab. A seminar on Sikhism and related aspects will also be organized on the occasion which will be [attended] by the eminent scholars of the region working on Sikh History and socio-cultural aspects of united Punjab.

The aforesaid activities will be inaugurated by an Internationally acclaimed art lover and philanthropist Sardar Parmpal Singh Buttar, Chairman, International Centre of Excellence for Museum Education at Jagardhri, Haryana.

The above art and literary activities are being conceptualized, created and executed under the expert guidance of nationally renowned musicologist Dr. P.C. Sharma, Chief Consultant-cum-Director International Centre of Excellence for Museum Education, Jagadhri and eminent digitizer D.P. Singh, Executive Director, Punjab Digital Library, Chandigarh. The exhibition is being curated by a renowned artist Dr. Amita.


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