Tamil Nadu

Museum manual in T.N. being updated after five decades

Reliving history:  Artefacts on display at the bronze and musical instruments galleries of the Egmore Museum.

Reliving history: Artefacts on display at the bronze and musical instruments galleries of the Egmore Museum.

After over five decades, the Tamil Nadu government is updating its museum manual, which guides the management of all its museums.

The last version, published in 1966, does not reflect the ground reality any more. The update is aimed at reflecting the contemporary set-up in the administration of museums.

The 1966 version was only for the then Madras Government Museum and the National Art Gallery at Egmore and the Government Museum at Pudukottai, the first district museum in the State. “Other district museums were guided by the manual that was issued for these two museums. Many museums have been established since, but the manual does not reflect the reality any more,” a source pointed out.

In December 2021, the government constituted a committee to update the manual. The decision was made after a panel from the office of Accountant-General pointed out that the manual had not been updated for over five decades.

The manual lays down the procedures to be followed in the Department of Museums, the mandate of each post and the registers and other documents to be maintained by the Department.

An official told The Hindu that the committee should emphasise the administration of the Treasure Trove Act, 1878, and the procedure for acquiring treasure trove articles. “Though the existing manual mentions that the Revenue Department should bear the expenses towards shifting a trove from the site to the museum, quite often the Revenue Department rejects the responsibility.”

The official hoped the updated manual would mandate filling of posts being managed with the existing staff members. Besides the headquarters museum in Chennai, there are 23 district museums across the State, and at least seven of them are additionally held by curators. “Seven curators are given the additional charge of seven district museums. This should be avoided,” he said.

The 23 district museums are located in Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Erode, Kancheepuram, Kanniyakumari, Karur, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Nagapattinam, Palani, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram, Salem, Sivaganga, the Nilgiris, Theni, Tiruchi, Tirunelveli, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur, Vellore and Virudhunagar. Of them, the museums in Cuddalore, Pudukkottai, the Nilgiris, Tiruchi and Tirunelveli are functioning at heritage buildings. There is also a fossil museum in Ariyalur.

Besides the 24 museums under the control of the Department of Museums, the Department of Archaeology maintains 14 archaeological site museums.

Meanwhile, a new site museum at Kondagai in Sivaganga is being constructed to showcase the artefacts excavated at Keeladi.


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Printable version | May 17, 2022 10:39:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/museum-manual-in-tn-being-updated-after-five-decades/article38341513.ece