Make museums visitor-friendly: Expert

Kochi, May 18, 2018: Noting that the role of the museums are being underplayed,  a  leading expert  on the subject  has said that there is an urgent need to make them visitor-friendly public spaces by providing adequate budgets and infusing  innovative  ideas.

Speaking at the ‘ Abimukham’ organised by Sahapedia at Museum of Kerala History, Edappally,on Friday, Dr B  Venugopal, Honorary Director, Centre for Intangible Heritage studies, SreeSankaracharya University of Sanskrith,  Kalady,  emphasised that while revamping museums understanding the needs of the visitors is the most important factor.

“Understanding your visitors is the most potent thing.  Accessibility to collection or allowing the visitors to touch and feel the exhibits can be of immense help in this direction” he said during the programme held to mark the International Museum Day.

Elaborating the idea, he said putting signages, universal designs, braille labels where the blind can touch and feel the documents and exhibits will  improve the footfalls to the museums.

“Lack of  adequate budget and trained staff are the major impediments faced by museums. Coupled with them, dearth of innovative ideas to lure the visitors is adding up to their woes.Hence, there should be a new strategy which will help lure more visitors,“he said.

“ As museums can play a major role in the human rights arena as social spaces  for all, their accessibility should be the first thing that has to be kept in mind, if we need to improve the qualities of museums, especially for the physically challenged. For instance, equipping museums with a well - built ramp could be an appropriate step in this direction,” he said.

Museums should be modernized with a  sense of social  commitment so that  they could cater to the needs of  different linguistic categories, Venugopal observed.

“There are places with 20 to 25 linguistic variations which is almost like a microcosm of India. Do the museums cater to this?” he asked.

Noting that museums often thrived on programmes organised around them, he said confining  such activities to their four walls is a major bottleneck. Instead, there should be outside activities which can excite the public and thereby creating a general awareness of the exhibits in the museums.

It was also important to increase museums’ accessibility through hyper connectivity, he added.


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