INDIA  :   Kerala

Napier Museum set for a makeover

Saturday , 05 March 2016

Top international and Indian experts have recently come to the conclusion that one of India’s oldest museums, the Napier Museum in Thiruvananthapuram, needs to undergo a restoration process.

The museum, which houses artefacts dating back to the first century, is named after Lord Napier, the Governor of Madras. It was designed by Chison, the consulting architect of the then Madras government and was completed in 1880.

An expert committee presided by Velayudhan Nair, former professor and head of the National Museum Institute, had been commissioned by Kerala’s government. Experts such as John Scott, president of the New York Conservation Centre, Gabriela Krist of the Institute of Conservation University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and BV Khabade, director of the National Laboratory for Conservation of Culture Property, discussed the conservation of the museum during a four-day workshop, recently.

“It has been decided to submit a detailed project report to conserve the building structure and the museum collection.” Nair told reporters at the end of the workshop.

The museum collection houses more than 550 objects, including stones from the first century, bronze items from the eighth century and wooden objects from the twelfth century. It also has more than 5,000 coins from different time periods.

Krist has said that the objects were all in good condition and the museum has a proper record of its inventory. “Generally in museums, only 20 per cent of the objects are put up for exhibition, while 80 per cent are kept under storage. But here it is not like that. Overall, the materials are in good condition. When the report is prepared, we would lay emphasis on maintaining the humidity inside the museum and also on the concept of safe storage.” said Krist.

The experts have also highlighted the need for laying attention on the leaks on the roof of the building and other wear and tear in it.

However, Khabade has said that it is early to say when the restoration work would start or what the required budget would be, but once the project report comes in, they would be willing to extend financial assistance.