Adapting to a post-Covid world, the state government is working on a plan to open up museums for visitors with adequate precautions like social distancing.
The state government has 13 museums at Nagpur, Sindkhedraja, Mahur, Ter, Aurangabad, Kolhapur (2), Sangli, Aundh (Satara district), Nashik, Thiba Palace (Ratnagiri), Paithan and Satara. These museums have around 40,000 rare artefacts, including paintings, sculptures, coins, terracotta figures, and finds from excavation sites.
“Once the lockdown is eased or over, we are planning to re-open museums with adequate precautions like social distancing. However, Covid prevention measures may be tough to implement in a closed area like a museum, vis-à-vis an open space. For this, we are seeking the aid of experts and architects,” said an official from the directorate of museums and archaeology.
The directorate plans to involve experts from the CEPT University in Ahmedabad. This report will be evaluated by the directorate before being submitted to the state government.
These standard operating procedures will take into account factors like the carrying capacity of a museum and number of people to be allowed into it at a time, tickets to be sold daily, norms to be followed, and facilities to be created like sanitisation, hand wash facilities and toilets. The museums also have touchscreen technologies, and the directorate is looking at alternatives which can be deployed. It may also suggest some re-engineering of the premises.
The study, which will see these experts also visit the museums, is expected to take around three months. “This will be a holistic study, which will help these museums adapt to the post-Covid world,” he explained.
The Bhawani museum at Aundh has a collection of paintings, miniatures, and ivories from the collection of Aundh royal Bhawanrao ‘Balasaheb’ Srinivasrao Pantpratinidhi, including those from various schools like Kangra and Jaipur, and the Aurangabad museum has a collection of sculptures.
The Ramlingappa Lamture Museum at Ter in Osmanabad has archaeological artefacts from the excavation site at Ter, which dates back to the Satavahan-era and pre-Satavahan era. During the times of the Satavahans, Ter conducted trade with the Roman empire and was part of an ancient trade route. The Nagpur museum has paintings by renowned artist Sawlaram Haldankar.