A site for sharing

Updated: 09 October, 2020 10:17 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

With a website that launches today, an oral history project will collect museum memories from across the globe

Tushita Singh's sketch inspired by a visit to the Tribal Museum in Bhopal
Tushita Singh's sketch inspired by a visit to the Tribal Museum in Bhopal

THE sense of wonder that surfaces when you walk into any museum for the first time is hard to forget — the gleaming shelves that display artefacts of yore, framed paintings or pictures that speak a thousand words or installations displayed with fine craftsmanship. The Museum Memories Project or MUME collects these precious moments of human experiences.

On their Instagram page, people have shared personal pictures and artworks along with their memories of visiting museums over the world. The project was initiated by city-based Poulomi Das of Varnika Designs, who has been a consultant with museums in India for over two decades. MUME came about during the lockdown — a distraction from the uncertainty of today and a means of oral history documentation.

A day in Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) illustrated by Deeptanshu Sanyal; Aujaswe Jain, 13, paints Albert Hall Museum in Jaipur;
A day in Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) illustrated by Deeptanshu Sanyal; Aujaswe Jain, 13, paints Albert Hall Museum in Jaipur

But what started as an Instagram project is now blossoming into a website being launched today. It will not only host these submissions, but also a monthly series titled Impresario: a Heritage Foundry of in-depth interviews featuring museum professionals. This will be uploaded on a YouTube channel, and Das shares that the line-up of the first three videos includes Dr Asok Kumar Das, former director, City Palace Museum, Dr Ganga Singh Rautela, former director general of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Dr Marika Sardar curator, Aga Khan Museum, and Dr Indira Chowdhury, founder-director, Centre for Public History, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology.

In addition, there will also be a Visual Story section where young artists will be narrating stories of historical events and personalities. "One, for instance, is about how Emperor Akbar couldn't read or write. The content will be based on research by historians," says Das, adding that there will also be a museum-related glossary to decode terms like 'curation'.

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With a team of seven people working pro-bono, Das hopes to get funding. They are keen to explore crowdfunding since the project then becomes a shared one. "People then get to see what they want to see," she says. During the lockdown, Das says that many are missing museums, and so a platform like this will enable people to get information of a particular space with a unique, layman perspective. She adds, "We have to always remember that a museum is for the people, not just for those who fund it. Someone gave us feedback saying Indian museums talk only about the rich and so many classes are left out. Plus, they only focus on the good, but what about the brutalities? We need a more complete representation." And MUME is essentially a step in that direction.

Poulomi Da/
Poulomi Das. Pic/ Arnab Senapati

Email museummemoriesproject@gmail.com (to send your memories)
Log on to themumeproject.com

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First Published: 09 October, 2020 07:35 IST

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