Vijayawada

An amazing experience awaits history buffs

G. Vani Mohan, Commissioner, Department of Archaeology and Museums, explaining features of the digital wall at Bapu Museum in Vijayawada on Thursday.

G. Vani Mohan, Commissioner, Department of Archaeology and Museums, explaining features of the digital wall at Bapu Museum in Vijayawada on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

All one needs to do is step into new-look Bapu Museum, says official

Colourful images of pre-historic artefacts pop up on a 20-ft touch screen digital wall with detailed information about their significance.

“For first time in the country, technologies such as augmented and virtual reality and immersive projection mapping (AV theatre) are being used to enhance the museum experience,” says G. Vani Mohan, Commissioner, Department of Archaeology and Museums.

Renovation works at the Bapu Museum are in full swing. The unique collection of antiquities from Palaeolithic or old stone age to the modern historic age, did not see the light of the day for many years as they were locked up in a room.

“To bring them out, we prepared a project report and made a presentation to the Centre which sanctioned ₹ 8 crore,” Ms. Vani Mohan adds.

The old museum was built in 1887 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria and thus named Victoria Jubilee Museum.

“This is the place where, in 1921, the designer of Indian flag Pingali Venkaiah, handed over his iconic work to Mahatma Gandhi in the presence of important Indian National Congress leaders,” she says, pointing to the Pingali Venkaiah gallery, which is being equipped with a sound and light show. The space outside the old structure is reserved for a projection mapping show.

The digital concept being very new, it is difficult to get things done by untrained staff who are slowly learning the ropes, she says.

The digital wall has seven segments and as many people can use it at a time.

The four thematic interactive kiosks will familiarise the visitors with the ancient temples, forts, Buddhism and Jainism and excavations and epigraphy in Andhra Pradesh. Touch any temple or fort on the screen, zoom it and know all about its history and significance with suitable music playing in the background.

Thematic galleries

The 1,200 antiquities are being positioned in thematic galleries — pre-historic, early historic, Buddhism, Brahmanical, arms and weapons, coins, epigraphy, textile, painting, Bidri ware, Chinese and celadon ware.

After going around the galleries, come back to the first one (Buddhism) and attempt a digital quiz comprising questions based on the objects in the museum. If you perform well, you will receive a certificate from the Department of Archaeology and Museums. “This is to raise interest, especially among the young visitors,” explains Ms. Vani Mohan.

The room that was used to ‘dump’ the antiquities has now transformed into a library with 9,700 books.

Maintenance, she admits, will be a major challenge. “The government will have to allocate adequate funds for the purpose,” says the Commissioner. The museum will reopen in a month.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 4:37:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/an-amazing-experience-awaits-history-buffs/article29403585.ece

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