This Republic Day, a freedom fighters’ gallery will be opened at Fort Museum in the city.
According to a museum official, the second floor of the museum, which has been functioning in the exchange building of Fort St. George since 1948, would host an important nugget of Indian history — an 8x12 feet silk Indian National flag that was hoisted on the morning of 15 August, 1947, at Fort St. George.
The gallery was supposed to come up by August 15 last year but lack of funds and bureaucratic hassles delayed it, said K. Moortheeswari, deputy superintending archaeologist, Chennai circle, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The textile conservation of the flag, which is in a delicate condition, will be undertaken by ASI experts. Apart from the flag, the original wooden flag mast and commemorative medals from the freedom struggle will be on display. “Information on the history will also be provided,” said Neeti Anilkumar, assistant archaeologist, Chennai circle, ASI.
In May, last year, the museum had invited contributions to the gallery in the form of photographs, stamps, and letters, among other things, from the public and families of freedom fighters.
However, there wasn’t any response to the request, an ASI official said. “We are still open to contributions. People can either donate or sell us the antiquities,” said Ms. Moortheeswari. Ms. Neeti said a room adjacent to the gallery had been set aside to display such contributions.
“On any given day, there are at least 750 antiquities on display at the museum,” she said.
The museum is set to go digital soon. “This will help visitors obtain additional information on how a portrait was made, for instance, and the technique used in the portrait gallery,” said Ms. Moortheeswari.