Giving life to museums: Bridging the gap, post pandemic

The threat of the COVID 19 pandemic has worked as a trigger for museums worldwide to change their outlook and the way of organising and arranging things. The almost holistic shift from the offline to the online mode has called for museums all over the world to change, become more inclusive, and gradually become a tool to spread culture and awareness on history and heritage.

To remain relevant, museums have to provide entertainment and create a new vocabulary and preferably larger than life experiences, in order to bring the intangible resources to light, in a playful manner. More importantly, it is crucial to find the perfect balance between physical and digital, which might come to help not only to narrate curatorial stories but also to document and conserve rare collections through digitization.

Community inclusion in museums is the need of the hour. An awareness of the community has enabled some museums to succeed in collecting the contemporary world to which visitors can relate. Inclusiveness and engagement of communities can be achieved through democratizing collections and opening up to the possibility to reach people worldwide. Identifying and addressing challenging histories, throwing light upon conflicting narratives and divergent views is a risk that must be taken for the greater good.

In the last two decades, museums like the Remember Bhopal Museum(2014), Conflictorium(2013) in Allahabad and the Partition Museum(2016) in Amritsar, in India, have become successful to some extent to document divergent perspectives and histories. A rich library should be at the heart of a museum, giving a flexible and comfortable space for the visitors where they can gain the desired knowledge, at leisure.

In a globally and culturally more connected world, decolonizing the museum agenda can no longer be ignored. Blockbuster, costly exhibitions look less and less feasible in the future, on the contrary, the museums and galleries need to be more creative and work on their audience development. Changes in the Indian museums are unlikely to come from the centre and is better as a grassroot level movement with developing a greater responsiveness to visitors.

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