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India, Austria identify Mannanam of Kerala for setting up next village museum

Tuesday February 22, 2011 08:38:37 AM, Special Correspondent

New Delh: National Museum Institute and the Austrian Cultural Forum will jointly develop a `village museum’ at Mannanam in Kerala as part of the continuing cultural collaboration, in the same way both the sides joined together to develop a similar museum in Nako village of the Western Himalayas.

This was disclosed by National Museum Institute (NMI) Vice-Chancellor Dr C V Ananda Bose, after jointly inaugurating a photo exhibition on Nako, along with renowned film maker Shaji N Karun, here on Saturday evening.

Dr Bose, who is also the Administrator of the National Museum, said India and Austria will sign another memorandum of understanding to identify further areas for collaborative research and cultural relationship. Mannanam has been identified as the place for the next village museum putting together the cultural contributions, practices, and artefacts of this culturally-rich village in Kottayam district.

As part of the continuing collaboration, the NMI and the Austrian Cultural Forum held a two-day round-table conference, attended by experts from both the sides. Apart from this, national award winning director Shaji also released a book "Heritage Conservation and Research in Indi- 60 Years of Indo-Austrian Collaboration,’ edited by Gabriela Krist and Tatjana Bayerová.

The exhibition "Nako-the Living Cultural Heritage in Western Himalayas’’, compiling photos taken by Stefen Olah who is teaching photography in the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria, was jointly opened by Shaji and Dr. Bose. It will be open till March 20.

At the round-table, both sides have agreed to continue the cultural cooperation by promoting common research in topics like museology, doctoral studies in museums, the documentation of (traditional) knowledge, and displaying the process instead of results. Both the sides will identify working groups to take the collaboration further.

The Nako Project, situated in Himachal Pradesh and just 7 km from the Chinese Tibetan border, included the establishment of a village museum by the Institute of Conservation, University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, in close cooperation with the National Research Laboratory for the Conservation of Cultural Property Lucknow (NRLC), the Nako Buddhist Society and the Nako Youth Club, whose members are also responsible for the maintenance of the museum. The museum was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visit to Nako in 2007.

A museum collection was put together, mostly consisting of contributions by the villagers. The Institute of Conservation provided training in collection care (inventory, conservation, display) and exhibition practices to the village and lama community as well as the members of the Nako Youth Club.

The Village Museum includes traditional artefacts used in the remote hill area of Nako, such as characteristic, beautiful woolen dresses, shawls and shoes, typical dishes and household items, and thangka paintings.







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