Improved presentation of some exhibits, better signage under first phase of refurbishment
Maniyan and Rita look far more glamorous now. Tall green grass surrounds these two rhinoceroses and a line of white bulbs on top shows every twist and fold of their tough skin.
From Assam, Maniyan arrived in Thiruvananthapuram in 1956 and Rita in 2003. These two belonged to different generations, led different lives in the city zoo, and met separate ends. And now they stand, on one side of the foyer of the Natural History Museum here, immortalised through taxidermy.
The two are first of the 2,500 exhibits, whose presentation has been enhanced by the renovation work at the museum, the first phase of which is over. The official inauguration of the refurbished museum is scheduled for September 10.
Another exhibit at the foyer that has found emphasis due to the redone entrance of the museum is the fibreglass model of the False Killer Whale that was found stranded on the Thiruvananthapuram coast way back in 1902.
Marking the first phase of the renovation is ornate woodwork stretching from ceiling to floor and the elaborate polished wood.
The entrance now flaunts bright teak wood panelling that is marked by floral designs and traditional carvings of birds. This work was done through the Small Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO).
Another project carried out as part of the renovation is the modelling of two dinosaur species — the Tyrannosaurus and the Yangchuanosaurus. The modelling was done by artist B. Jinan. They have been placed in two different spots in the sprawling museum grounds along with signboards denoting the features of the species.
The museum also gets a prehistoric quality through the improved presentation of some of the exhibits. Wood fossils have always stood in front of the Natural History Museum here but drab presentation has hardly won them any attention.
Hence, construction agency Costford was roped in to make a shed made of all eco-friendly materials as part of the renovation. The construction, of the new enclosure of the ‘permineralised’ remains of what once stood as trees, has been carried out at a total cost of Rs. 1.62 crores, Superintendent of the Natural History Museum S. Abu says.
He adds the exhibits inside have also been improved upon by attaching them with better and more informative signage. Considering the fact that school students form a major part of their clientele, these displays will enrich their experience, says Mr. Abu.
Zoo Director B. Joseph told The Hindu that they were considering modernising the presentation of all the exhibits. This may form the second phase of the renovation.
“We will also launch two new buggies on the same day as the inauguration. They are 14-seaters and SIDCO is supplying the vehicles. There is a massive demand for the two battery-powered vehicles that are currently in use. They are both 8-seaters and can be booked for either Rs. 50 per person or Rs. 350 for the whole buggy,” says Mr. Joseph.