The night shift

Published: May 20, 2019, 07:00 IST | Fiona Fernandez

A recent event by a musuem that extended into the night should serve as an example to other public attractions and tourist landmarks to consider similar innovations

The night shift
The night session at the children's museum at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya last Saturday. Pic/Ashish Raje

Fiona FernandezIt took a long time coming. But, it was well worth the wait. Last weekend, the children's museum at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya hosted an evening and night session for children as part of its celebrations on International Museum Day. Going by the response we heard about, it seemed to have been a rocking success for the bachcha log.

Three years ago, in this very column space, we had written about the need for public institutions including tourist attractions like museums and libraries, to stay open after dark on some days of the week, if not on all working days, if they wished to increase interest and thereby better footfall to keep such spaces alive and relevant in today's day and age. At that point, yours truly had just attended a discussion in a museum that stretched into post sunset. In a rare moment, we were privy to sights and exhibits within the space in new, and may we add, stunning light. We fell in love with these oft-seen displays all over again.

Soon after, we had another opportunity to experience a historic landmark -- the Town Hall inside the Asiatic Society -- for a book release that happened to stretch into after sundown. It was a heady adventure as we sneaked out of the main event held in the Durbar Hall and wandered across the corners and contours of the hallowed space, making revised impressions of the statues and gazing at its stately neoclassical interiors. It was a memorable evening.

That column emphasised why such novel moves might just be the X factor to reignite interest and attention towards these strategic sites that had become nothing but sleeping brick-and-mortar structures of limited relevance and little interest to a largely untapped section.

In a city that is fighting hard to keep its nightlife alive and kicking, this is another chapter from the same book that needs to be addressed and taken into consideration in the bigger picture. After all, we are a city of hardworking individuals, many of who keep late, long hours. Entertainment and experiential options ought to be made available to its citizens and tourists alike. Imagine the opportunity that could be presented to a young family who can now actually take their kids to a museum, bookstore or a park after an arduous day at the office and school.

If we call ourselves the city that never sleeps, it ought to cover all aspects to this tagline, and not just ride on longer hours for malls, nightclubs and restaurants. It's worth a shot, we say. Here's hoping the gods in the right places give this a thought. We can't wait to make our way to one of these events the next time we hear of it.

mid-day's Features Editor Fiona Fernandez relishes the city's sights, sounds, smells and stones...wherever the ink and the inclination takes her. She tweets @bombayana Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com

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