Mysore/Mysuru: To mark International Museum Day (IMD) on May 18, Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI), Southern Regional Centre, Manav Bhawan, Bogadi 2nd Stage, Mysuru, in collaboration with UNESCO on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development, had organized a lecture by Prof. Amareswar Galla, UNESCO Chair, on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development.
The International Council of Museums (ICOMs) had designated the theme for IMD-2021 as ‘The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine.’ AnSI aimed to focus on how best it can assist museums during and after the pandemic. Museums, as civic spaces, irrespective of their purpose or specialism, cultural or natural, have to address their relevance and ability to work with community groups.
AnSI is cognisant of the huge impact of the current pandemic on museums and their stakeholder communities.
According to UNESCO and ICOM reports, in the past year the financial viability of museums has been challenged. Revenues of museums had been reduced all over the world by 60 to 70 percent. Nearly, a third of the small museums have been closed and thousands of people have lost jobs.
As most of the people working in the informal economy have lost their livelihoods, AnSI is convinced that new methods and modalities of museums need to be adopted. Ecomuseology, a methodology to bring people and their heritage together through community and local museums, needs to be promoted.
Prof. Galla, globally renowned for his demonstrated ability to promote the establishment of Ecomuseums and job creation, emphasised that “More of the same museums will not do. The rapid use of digital affordances during the pandemic has transformed the future of museums into a blended reality with both the virtual and real ways of engagement woven together seamlessly. The ethics of engagement have new challenges and consequences. AnSI could make a difference as the leading agency for participatory research and community engagement in India.”
Gouri Basu, Director of AnSI, said “The pandemic has exposed further the digital divide and the need is to ensure no one is left behind in representing their multiple voices. The most vulnerable communities such as indigenous tribal communities need to be prioritised in responsible museums development to protect their cultural rights and contribute to their livelihoods.”
AnSI is keen that the IMD becomes a critical agency for advocacy for museum development. It also believes that the future of museums with responsible and ethical community engagement is non-negotiable.