Heritage museum to be ready soon

Getting ready:Park View, the former headquarters of the Tourism Directorate in Thiruvananthapuram, is being converted into a heritage museum by the Tourism Department.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: S. Mahinsha

G. Mahadevan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A museum which will showcase the heritage of Kerala from the Palaeolithic age to the early 20 {+t} {+h} century is nearing completion at ‘Park View,' the former headquarters of the Tourism Directorate.

A joint venture of the departments of culture, archaeology and museum & zoos, the museum is likely to be inaugurated in April. The government has already issued orders requisitioning artefacts from various institutions, including the Napier Museum, Thiruvananthapuram, to be displayed at the heritage museum.

According to museum project officer S. Hemachandran, the plan is to have five galleries each of which will have a few thematic exhibits. Each gallery will have a kiosk where comprehensive information about that period will be provided in the form of pictures, videos and documentaries.

While the first gallery on the Palaeolithic age will feature tools of stone and a Marayoor rock painting, the second one on the iron age will have an urn burial, samples of ‘kudakkal' and pieces of pottery. The gallery on the early historic age will feature pottery and coins unearthed at Pattanam, coins of the Chera kingdom, and samples of inscriptions of the age.

The gallery on sculptures will sport bronze and wooden statues with details of artisans who fashioned them down the ages. While the gallery on art and architecture will enlighten visitors about temple and church architecture and provide information about mural paintings, the last gallery on heritage will showcase the model of a ‘naalukettu' complete with household utensils.

The Rs.98-lakh museum on two floors will have LED lighting and security mechanisms. With a view to giving the building an old-world look, a horse-drawn carriage used in the Travancore-era and a couple of Tipu-vintage cannons from Malabar will be displayed at the entrance.

The decision of the government to transfer artefacts from the Napier Museum has evoked protest from many museum staff. According to sources in the museum, 36 iron sculptures, six statues in wood, eight iron lamps and six musical instruments now being kept in the store house of the Napier Museum are scheduled to be shifted out to the new heritage museum. Nine artefacts in wood and bronze that are now put on display at the Napier Museum also figure in this list.

“If at all the government wanted to set up a heritage museum, it could have found space inside the Napier Museum premises. The very purpose of setting up the Napier Museum was to display the cultural heritage of this part of the world. It is also not clear whether the artefacts will be on loan or are being donated to the new museum,” a source in the Museum and Zoo Directorate said here.