NEW DELHI: The Central government has stepped up its efforts to create a state-of-the-art ‘centralised storage’ facility for 1.95 lakh antiquities and precious artefacts in possession of the National Museum, safe and under proper supervision. The facility to be modelled on international standards similar to repositories in Germany, Hungary, and France may be built on the city outskirts.
The government has plans to expand the proposed storehouse later as per storage needs of other museums and institutions, including Archeological Survey of India (ASI) for the next 100 years. The estimated built-up area requirement for the centralised storage of the National Museum is about 2 lakh sqft, which can be extended to 5 lakh sqft.
As part of the Central Vista redevelopment project, the museum is proposed to relocate to the north and south block, where 8,000-10,000 objects will be placed for public viewing. Hence, the government wants to set up a centralised facility, delinking it from the museum, with a customised storage system for different articles made from stone, metals, wood, terracotta and textile such as sculpture, manuscripts, and paintings.
To conceptualise the proposed facility, National Museum has invited an expression of interest (EoI). As per the EoI, the storage facilities should have customised temperature, humidity, insect, ultraviolet and infrared controls with real-time parameter monitoring system. The proposed facility will house a conservation laboratory including learning divisions such as digitisation unit, cataloguing centre, library and research centre.
The existing National Museum building was established in 1960 and storage was designed according to the space and number of antiquities available at that time. The collection has grown since then and the authority is facing acute paucity of space. Importantly, the set up is not fully disaster-proof. At present, the museum has nearly 2 lakh objects, but only 7,000 are on display, with the rest in reserve storage.
The agency selected will prepare a note (project outline) and conceptual design of the storage facility, which will be approved by an expert committee appointed by Ministry of Culture. “After obtaining the approval of approach paper/note and preliminary or conceptual design, the agency shall prepare a detailed project report detailing the technical specifications and drawings of the system and infrastructure to be installed, bill of quantities and the draft request for proposal (RFP) for execution of the project,” says the EoI.