Home to Kochi-Muziris Biennale, one of India’s biggest art events, Kerala is now aspiring to become the museum hub of India. “It’s time we came out of the notion that museums are places where history sleeps. They should be able to converse with visitors, more so youngsters,” stated Dr Venu V, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala, who oversees the departments of Archaeology, Archives and Museums.
Under the initiative, mini museums will be promoted across the state.
Anchored by Keralam Museum, an organisation formed to build and modernise museums, the “new museum movement strives to challenge old-fashioned norms about conservation of cultures, replacing them with revolutionary concepts that are gaining ground in other parts of the world”.
Among other projects, the Bastion Bungalow at Fort Kochi will now function as the Ernakulam District Heritage Museum, with its galleries visually explaining the interventions of the colonial Portuguese, Dutch and the British powers into the political domain of Kerala’s kingdoms.
A newly opened District Heritage Museum in Palakkad, 150 km north of Kochi, focuses on the region’s agriculture, arts and music.
In recent years, Keralam Museum has completed several other assignments, including Koyikkal Palace Folklore Museum at Nedumangad in Thiruvananthapuram district, Gandhi Smriti Museum at Payyanur and Vaikom Satyagraha Memorial Gandhi Museum in Kottayam district. More than 20 District Heritage Museums are underway.