Of first and last impressions
In its sixth exhibition, CSMVS's Museum on Wheels initiative showcases the history of life through fossils while highlighting their possible extinction
If you cannot come to the museum, the museum will come to you." That's what the brochure of the Citi-CSMVS Museum on Wheels (MoW) reads. MoW launched in 2015, with the previous edition themed on the history of Indian money. The outreach initiative is currently in its sixth edition with an exhibition titled Fossils: Impressions of the Past.
So, on a weekday morning, we spot a blue bus carrying illustrations of a nautilus and a jellyfish parked near the Children's Museum. And it's going to be heading to a school in Nashik soon. When you enter it, it's understood that this isn't just a bus carrying dioramas and history charts — it's a whole new carefully curated world on wheels.
An important section of the exhibition is the introduction to what a living fossil is. Coined by Charles Darwin in 1859, the term refers to an organism that has remained unchanged over the course of millennia and which has survived all five mass extinctions through the years. But how do you fit volumes of research into one bus? Education officer Bilwa Kulkarni explains, "We wanted to show something that is relevant and existing today that children can relate to, and also give them bits about what is unfamiliar about those objects. For instance, you know what a crocodile is but the fact that it is a living fossil, has hardly evolved over several million years and is the closest living relative of the dinosaur, are relatively unfamiliar facts."
(In the above pics) Remains of American cockroaches; herbivore and carnivore dinosaur eggs that typically belong to the sauropod and theropod dinosaur; the insides of the bus. About the association, Debasis Ghosh, public affairs officer, Citi, says, "This one-of-a-kind-initiative takes educational value to children in their study environment, supplementing their knowledge of our cultural heritage. We are proud to be associated with CSMVS on this project, which has reached 7,45,000 children across 90 educational institutions in Maharashtra till now." Pics/Bipin Kokate
The exhibition has only recently opened, having stopped by Pabal, Pune and Colaba's Kendriya Vidyalaya already. It will be travelling to schools all over the state for the next six months. It starts with the introduction of a fossil — the types and formation, and moves on to talk about dinosaurs in the Indian context. "All the objects here have been fabricated by our in-house artists team. The jellyfish fossil that we have here though is an original. It's actually one of the first creatures to start living on Earth," education facilitator Nandita Krishna points out, while assistant facilitator Chinmay Gawade cites the arrival of scores of jellyfish that were spotted at Girgaum Chowpatty this year, and mentions how they thrive in pollution.
An original fossil of a jellyfish
While one drawer contains replicas of rock formations, Gawade instructs us to open another one that would scare most children; it contains the remnants of two American cockroaches. "These used to be largely present in India. They will be endangered soon," he says. We also learn that MoW is set to get more exciting in October. The team has plans to host another exhibition on Indian music simultaneously. As Krishna reveals, "We want to tell children about the different types of instruments and sounds as well as the basics of Indian music."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org (for schools looking to book MoW)
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