The Gandhi Memorial Museum here is all set to get a facelift through a fusion of tradition and modernity. The Union Ministry of Culture has sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore under the scheme for setting up, promotion and strengthening of regional and local museums on the basis of a detailed project report submitted by the museum authorities.
A master plan submitted to the Union Government by the chairman of the museum P. Mahalingam and secretary R. Rengasamy envisages improvement of existing facilities, repair and renovation, provision of new amenities for visitors, enhancement of security and construction of new buildings. The museum, declared open by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister, on April 15, 1959, is housed in an over 350-year-old Nayak structure on an area of 13.5 acres. It contains 46 relics of Mahatma Gandhi, 14 of which are originals, and one artefact. The museum has been attracting about two lakh visitors annually in the last few years.
The plan has been drafted in such a manner as to protect the cultural, historical and architectural significance of the campus. Attempt has been made to enhance Gandhian philosophical thought as a level for development process. Besides renovation of existing buildings, without altering their architectural value, the plan envisages creation of an art and craft centre.
Good conservation principles will be followed while taking up the renovation work, according to Mr. Rengasamy. The report recommends putting in place a passive energy system, using solar power, installation of guiding and security devices and creation of more interactive space. The plan focusses on the security aspects of the museum and suggests minimisation of vehicular movement on the campus. The entrance and exit points should be made minimum, it says and recommends installation of electronic sensors, an alarm and closed circuit television system.
Amenities for tourists include touch screen facility, ticket and baggage counters, book store, café, gallery and toilets.
Mr. Rengasamy said that they would utilise the sanctioned funds to undertake the maximum improvement on the campus. More funds could be got in subsequent years for construction of new buildings, he added.