Many important exhibits exposed to sun and rain

The Government Museum here remains neglected. The oldest one of its kind and next only to the Chennai Museum, it has a rare collection of many important sculptures, artifacts and pieces that recall and showcase the glory of a hoary past of the Salem region in ancient Tamil Nadu.

The museum has been a storehouse of many anthropological and archaeological importance and exquisitely-carved stone sculptures that glorify the kings and chieftains of earlier centuries and their prized articles including that of the British.

It also contains a section on numismatics, featuring ancient and medieval coins. There are also exhibits of zoological, botanical and geological importance that delight the young children and students alike.

The museum, started in 1979, has been the main attraction of many till it was shifted from its British-built tiled building at the heart of the city to the Music School premises on Saradha College Road following the expansion of the Government Medical College Hospital into a Rs. 160-crore Super Speciality Hospital on the lines of AIIMS. Old buildings including the one that housed the museum were pulled down for the construction of the super speciality hospital.

But unfortunately the new premises have been inadequate. The exhibits of historical importance have been exposed to rain and sun, causing pain to history lovers. The security is also woeful.

Though the district administration has constructed a compound wall, it does not serve the purpose, with encroachers having easy entry. The only solution to the issue is to provide a spacious alternative site for it.

The Salem Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, has submitted a memorandum seeking to revamp the museum along with a request to allot the Nattamai building to house it. The need for a research centre to study the historical importance of Salem was also stressed. They point out that the Salem Museum and Mahatma Gandhi Philately Museum had been updated in the Directory of Museums 2010.

Keywords: Salem museum