Makeover complete at stately Government Museum building

Extensive civic works were carried out in the interior and exterior portions of the museum housed in the over 350-year-old Rani Mangammal Kolu Mandapam

September 24, 2022 09:31 am | Updated 09:31 am IST

The right place  The Rani Mangammal Kolu Mandapam, which houses the museum, was constructed in 1666 by Chokkanatha Nayak.

The right place The Rani Mangammal Kolu Mandapam, which houses the museum, was constructed in 1666 by Chokkanatha Nayak. | Photo Credit: M. SRINATH

Conservation work taken up under first phase at Tiruchi Government Museum, housed in the over 350-year-old Rani Mangammal Kolu Mandapam, has been completed.

Extensive civic works were carried out in the interior and exterior portions of the museum building situated in Town Hall without disturbing the heritage look of the structure.  The first phase works were taken up at a cost of ₹1.87 crore with funds sanctioned by the Centre and State government. The works, which started in January 2020, witnessed a setback two months later owing to lockdown clamped due to COVID-19 pandemic. The works resumed after relaxations were announced.

An architect from Chennai was engaged for the onservation work which was executed by a Mumbai-based agency with experience in such work. The museum remained out of bounds for visitors while the conservation works were going one. The exhibits were kept safely in a room on the museum premises.

“Cracks and damages developed over the years in the exteriors and interiors were attended to using traditional construction materials,” said Curator C. Sivakumar. Handmade and eco-friendly tiles, made in Athangudi in Sivaganga district, were used for the floor.

The Athangudi tiles had better visual appeal and more durable too. They were chosen to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu. Water leakages have been arrested through extensive plumbing works, Mr. Sivakumar said.

What next?
Better lighting system, new showcases for exhibits and security system
The second phase of conservation work will start once funds are allotted

According to museum authorities, Rani Mangammal Kolu Mandapam was constructed in 1666 by Chokkanatha Nayak. The Government Museum started functioning from this building from 1983.  There are more than 2,000 exhibits in the museum in different sections. These include ancient potteries, burial urns, copper coins, metal icons, palm leaf collection and Thanjavur paintings. 

Mr. Sivakumar said the second phase of conservation work would start once funds were allotted by the government. The works proposed include better lighting system, new showcases for the exhibits and security system for the museum. 

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