NEW DELHI: To mark the completion of two years of President Pranab Mukherjee in office, Rashtrapati Bhavan will soon throw open an audio-visual museum chronicling history and treasure troves of the highest office of the country.
Mukherjee will inaugurate the newly created museum in the Presidential Estate to mark his second year in office tomorrow, in pursuit of his idea of bringing his residential abode closer to the public.
The museum, replete with some eye-catching gifts that previous Presidents received, has been curated and raised to showcase the history since 1911 till the contemporary times. From the glass-fibre statues of all the Presidents to a homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, the museum has been built to interest people across all age groups.
"The museum would be opened for the public from August 1 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and for the first three months we have decided to keep the entry free. Arrangements will be made for people to book this visit online and also efforts are on to develop a mechanism so that people can obtain tickets by just walking-in," Secretary to the President Omita Paul told reporters here.
She said the creation of the museum, by converting an old horse stable to a fancy showroom, was the initiative of the President and articles lying unsued in the 'Toshkhana' of the Rashtrapati Bhavan were dusted, curated and placed for the knowledge of the outer world. Some of these troves are the gifts received by successive Presidents during their tenure.
While stepping on his third year of Presidency, Mukherjee also kept in mind the welfare of the families of the staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan as he will inaugurate a new 'knowledge hub' for students of the higher-secondary school present inside the lush-green Estate and a beautiful and comfortable 'transit hostel' for officers of the Bhavan. The President also inaugurated the new office premises of the United Bank of India and the Post Office which caters exclusively for Rashtrapati Bhavan staff and the families residing there.
"These offices were already operating from a heritage building in the Rashtrapati Bhavan but the President wanted that the buildings should be conserved and hence they were shifted to a new location," Paul said. Mukherjee, during his visit to the bank branch, opened a personal account and deposited Rs 5,100 in his account, officials said.
The museum will also showcase old artifacts, paintings, Lutyens designed furniture, 'company art' (pertaining to the East India Company) and a number of never-seen exhibits. A sync of audio and still photographs will provide the information of particular exhibits which date back into the history.
"The events will be described to the visitors in a story- telling format," curator of the museum Saroj Ghosh said. Mukherjee will also release two comprehensive books tomorrow, one on the 111 species of birds found in Rashtrapati Bhavan and the other compilation titled 'Indradhanush' depicting cultural history.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleagues and other dignitaries will participate in these events tomorrow even and Mukherjee will host a banquet for them in the evening.