Some of the big questions on art are answered within art itself. For that to transpire, the sanctums of art – museums need reinforcement. They are like wombs carrying our antiquity, in addition to our future thoughts, expressions and aspirations, making the need for their protection and promotion imperative.
An effort in this direction is being made by The American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) with an event, All India Museum Summit 2019, through its Center for Art and Archaeology. It raised curtains on July 22 and will conclude on July 24.
The summit brings together some of the best minds in the industry to offer a cerebral exploration of how museums play an enormous role in shielding India’s historic-artistic heritage and how systemic strategising is necessary to manage collections and resources. “The Summit is intended to bring together museum professionals who are actively seeking to expand the place of museums in public life. To make them places that are welcoming, that arouse curiosity about art and culture and stimulate learning, imagining and conversation,” says Susan Bean, Chair AIIS Center for Art and Archaeology and former Senior Curator, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem.
Bean is joined by Madhuvanti Ghose, Curator, The Art Institute of Chicago, and Diane Zorich, Director, Digitization Program, The Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. Their primary objective is to discuss modernisation of museums and turn these into dynamic sanctuaries. They are weighing over presenting art that incites the viewer, better management of museum resources, more interventions for youth engagement, how technology can be used effectively, not to forget, taking care of the existing repository.
The program is designed to consider all aspects of museum operations and focus on achieving these goals. Sponsored by the Embassy of the United States of America, New Delhi, it brings under one roof, nearly 150 museum professionals – curators, directors, and experts – including, discussants and panellists from 13 Indian states.
The overall theme of the summit is summed up in its title: India’s Museums in the New Millennium. “On the first day, entrepreneurial leaders of new museums talked about what they hoped to achieve by founding museums, challenges they faced, and strategies that helped them make progress. The presentations will consider essential aspects of infrastructure, educating museum professionals, finding support from the government, corporates, philanthropies, international engagement,” she says.
The second day is about strategies for engaging audiences, such as exhibitions, public programs, workshops and tours, digital access to collections, social media and more. The final day is on how to best preserve collections for the future and at the same time make them more accessible to the public through exhibition and digital access.
All the learning will be presented to the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, putting forth a potential action plan to advance India’s museums, post which a patient wait will hopefully bear fruit for best practices to be implemented in India’s home for the art All India Museum Summit 2019, July 22-24, IIC