Sword will be exhibited at renovated Napier Museum

Minister for Culture M.A. Baby said here on Wednesday that the sword of Velu Thampy Dalawa would be exhibited at the Napier Museum after acquiring it from the Central government.

The sword, now kept at the National Museum, Delhi, would be formally handed over to the State on June 20, he said while addressing a function held to open the renovated Napier Museum to the public. Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Union Ministers would be present at the handing over ceremony here, he said.

The weapon that struck fear in the hearts of the British troops has been one of the prized exhibits at the National Museum ever since it was transferred from the Kilimanoor Palace in Thiruvananthapuram to the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad. Following persistent efforts by the Department of Culture, the Central government had agreed to hand over the sword to Kerala for a year.

Mr. Baby later cut a tape to declare the renovated Napier Museum open. The 136- year-old building was renovated by the Department of Archaeology at a cost of Rs.1.2 crore. A team of specialised workers was deputed for the restoration project.

The work involved repair of the damaged portions of the tiled roof and pillars and restoration of the wooden carvings on the gables and doors. The carved pillars, balconies and walls were also renovated without disturbing the architecture and texture.

The damaged plastering on the walls was restored with the original materials and the paintings recreated. The electric wiring was also repaired and a modern lighting system provided. The exhibits in the museum were documented.

Officials said the work was carried out with police protection for the valuable exhibits.

The Minister also laid the foundation stone for a children's activity centre at the museum. The centre will offer classes and audio visual presentations for children visiting the zoo and museum. The project is estimated to cost Rs.68 lakh.

Tourism Secretary V. Venu, Director of Archaeology K.K. Mohanan Pillai and Museum Director-in-charge Vijayakumari Amma were present at the function.

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