Exhibition organised at Fort St. George Museum

CHENNAI, MAY 20. Where the British Officers once danced, revelled and made merry, we have today, the first exhibition celebrating Museum Day at the Fort St. George Museum in Chennai.

Following a declaration from the International Council for Museums, based in Paris, to celebrate Museum Day on May 18, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) organised an exhibition of ancient paintings and photographs of dilapidated and renovated monuments depicting the cultural heritage of India.

Says Ms. K. Moortheeswari, Assistant Archaeologist, ASI, ``Next year we plan to conduct elocution, essay and painting competitions on Museum Day''.

The 60 prints on display, and several paintings which were resurrected from dusty shelves of Raj Bhavan included the renovation works undertaken on the Shore Temple Complex, Mamallapuram, the landing with jetty point, elliptical structure with a Mahavaraha miniature shrine, the Fort Wall and Cemetry, Sadras, Olakkaneswara Temple with the Mahishamardhini Cave, Mamallapuram and the Pataleeswara Temple.

The entrance fee was waived for the exhibition on Museum Day. The exhibition has been extended for one week with the usual entrance fee of Rs. 5 for Indian visitors and $ 5 for foreign tourists.

Mr. K.T. Narasimhan, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, said the Museum has 4,300 antiquities. It was the only museum in the country with a complete collection of artefacts of the colonial period. Collections of the Indo-French, Odeyars of Mysore, British porcelain with the Coat of Arms and prints of Madras, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese and French arms and ammunition, uniforms, medals and coins form part of the display.

For students there is nothing like a museum visit. ``They may take months to learn pouring through their history texts, but a single visit to the museum will stay in memory longer'', he said.

The ASI completed a successful study of the bombed Cham monuments of Vietnam which was a mixture of Dravidian and Oriyan architecture. The Vietnamese Government had expressed enthusiasm in seeking India's co-operation for renovation of the Cham monuments, he said.