Students of schools and colleges will no longer feel out of place at the Government Museum in Egmore, because very soon they will have dedicated personnel engaging them at the venue.

As part of an outreach programme to “demystify the museum and make it more accessible,” government museum officials will organise interesting workshops for school and college students from next month.

“We are starting with students of engineering, technology and architecture programmes first,” says S.S. Jawahar, Commissioner of Museums. The first session under the series happened recently with students from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and Karpagam University, he adds.

The oncoming sessions would include detailed power-point presentations, analysis of old sculptures and relics and gallery talks by curators. A team of experts who can give more insights into the exhibits would also be organised depending on the course the students are pursuing.

“Artefacts are never ending sources of design and fashion. There is so much inspiration students can get from them,” says Mr. Jawahar. As part of the same programme, the Government Museum will also send officials to educational institutions. “The first of the series has been started in Presidency College for students of biotechnology, and it has programmes on plant modelling that includes techniques of conserving organic objects,” says M.N. Pushpa, curator, botany section, who is coordinating the course.

Around 3.5 lakh people visit the Museum's various galleries annually. At least 50 per cent of them are children. Starting next month, the museum will also conduct dedicated workshops for students of Chennai Schools. Around 100 children can participate in the programme every month. “The programmes would be basically story telling sessions with content in tune with their curriculum. The idea is to also hand out pamphlets to them so that they can go back to the information whenever they want,” says Mr. Jawahar.

Under the Rs.3-crore ‘Barrier-free access' project, the museum will soon have ramps with railings, public announcement service to aid persons with visual disability, modified toilets and facilities to avail of a virtual tour to make persons with disability comfortable. “Tenders have been floated for some, while others are in the design phase,” says Mr. Jawahar. To help persons with visual disability, a Geology corner has also been set up with models of varieties of rocks, fossils and minerals that can be felt and studied. “The aim is to involve as many schools and colleges as possible. This series of activity will not only get the youth excited about at least one section of the museum, but also help them realise the need to conserve heritage as a habit and a hobby, adds Mr. Jawahar.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012

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