More than 60 years after it was opened, Salarjung Museum (SJM) is still in the process of opening more and more galleries. There is never a dull moment with this world famous museum. In the next few months it is going to add three more galleries. The birth anniversary of its founder, Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Bahadur better known as Salarjung III is the occasion for taking stock of things, chalking out plans and setting the road map for future.
Museum Director A. Nagender Reddy explains the new plans on the anvil to
Any new galleries planned?
Yes, three new galleries are in the pipeline. A gallery containing walking sticks of Salarjung will be opened within a fortnight. As many as 180 walking sticks, some studded with jades, will be on display for the first time. Though Salarjung himself did not use the sticks, he took pains to acquire them from different parts of the world. The gallery is almost ready on the ground floor.
Which is the other gallery you have proposed?
A coins gallery is planned and it is expected to be ready in next two months. It will have more than 1,500 coins right from the Satavahana period to the Nizam’s era. The Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai, has agreed to put up two kiosks in the gallery. One will enlighten visitors with the history of money while in the other kiosk with a video will explain the method of detecting fake notes.
And the third gallery?
We have totally refurbished the children’s section at a cost of Rs. 30 lakh. The new gallery on the first floor has 3,500 sq ft area to display everything connected with children in a much better way. This gallery, which will be opened in next four months, will also have computer games to keep the visiting children engaged.
Any other thing?
The Islamic Art Gallery on the second floor in the Eastern Block is in the final stages of construction. A sum of Rs. 3 crore has been spent so far and another Rs. 1.5 crore is required to deck up the interiors. Everything connected with Islam from carpets to the holy Quran will be displayed here. The Islamic Art gallery will be inaugurated during this financial year.
What about plans to provide a virtual tour of the museum?
We plan to tie up with Google to give this enchanting experience to visitors. Shortly the SJM will go in for solar power to meet 40 to 50 p.c. of its energy needs. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs has provided a budget of Rs. 3.5 crore. The New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation will execute the project.