This Site will commission to create a resource Data bank of museums of India, providing insights into the collection, governance and functioning of these museums along with relevant contact details.
India has well over 9000 museums and at least one in each of the Union Territories and several in each of the 29 States. Rather than look at them state-wise, which has been done in earlier, some information available on websites and recently published directories such as Museums of India (Usha Agarwal; INTACH/Aryan; Fourth Revised Edition, 2013), the museums covered in this research have been classified and selected based on two criteria, (1) their collection and (2) their controlling authority and/or source of primary funding.
Classification based on Type of Collection:
• Older provincial museums
• Palace museums
• Anthropological museums
• Medical museums
• Archaeological site museums
• House museums
• University museums
• Ancient and contemporary art collections
• Folk art museums
• Railway/transport museums
• Military museums
• Science and natural history museums
• Court museums
• Memorial museums
Classification based on Controlling Authorities and Funding Agencies:
• Ministry of Culture, Government of India
• Ministry of Railways and Textiles, Government of India
• Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
• State Archaeological and Museums Department
• State Development Authority
• State Municipal Corporation
• Public and Private Trusts
• Society /Foundation
Based on the selection criteria above, we looked at over 130 museums from across Maharashtra and 5 Science Centres under the National Council of Science Museums in India. It is estimated that there are about 2,500 museums in the UK, out of which nearly 1,800 museums have been accredited. Registration under the Accreditation Scheme indicates that a museum has achieved a nationally approved standard in management, collections care and delivery of information and visitor services. The UK research was carried out by the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) and data collected from 58 museums from across the UK in response to a survey, But in India specially in Maharashtra no availability of this type of any authentic information.
The primary data was collected using a comprehensive questionnaire designed to obtain first-hand information regarding collections, governance, audience profile, digital presence and engagement, current and international priorities. Internet presence and details were obtained through web search.
A review of available literature and documents including directories, catalogues, brochures, annual reports and publications on Maharashtra museums was also carried out. Informal non-structured interviews were also conducted with museum professionals in India.
Many museums personnel in Maharashtra did not respond to e-mails or questionnaires. Many were hesitant to divulge information, especially with regard to governance and management policies. Additionally, it was observed that records were not systematic and hence accurate reports could not be obtained. Some of the research was dependent on online resources and examination of the available documents and media reviews.
The institution of the museum, along with the modern notion of art and the preservation of cultural heritage, entered India during the colonial period as part of the great ‘knowledge project’ of the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. As a result, the early museums in India consisted of a conglomerate of objects falling under the educational categories of geology, botany, zoology, archaeology, anthropology and art. Among others, the Indian Museum in Kolkata, the Madras Museum in Chennai and the Albert Hall in Jaipur were initially part of this ideology.
The idea of a museum as an institution preserving cultural heritage fired the imagination of several princely families in India and several of them instituted museums of art, in line with the British-colonial concept of the museum, and infused a European flavour to their aristocratic lifestyle. Many princes were educated in France and the UK and maintained estates in these countries, where they became fascinated with the History Painting genre of Europe. They brought back to India original works of generally lesser known artists as well as copies of more famous works. The 19th century museums established by the government were mainly run by the service officers, whereas the royal families often employed art-historians and experts on European art. Since the history of museums reflects the development of India as a modern nation post-independence many museums researched here were opened after the 1970s. Individual initiatives and partly private philanthropic support in this field is now promising as most of these new museums are modern, focused,
theme based and with better governance.
GOVERNANCE: UMBRELLA ORGANISATIONS AND STRUCTURE
There are three main Government organisations under which most museums are governed and funded.
• The Ministry of Culture
• Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), attached office under the Ministry of Culture
• The States Archaeological and Museums Departments.
The Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) come under the Central Government.
The Ministry of Culture governs seven museums which are further divided into the number of branches the museums have. For example the National Gallery of Modern Art has three branches and the National Council of Science Museums have 25 science museums and several science centres all over India. In addition the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Textiles also have specific museums under their purview. These are also other government bodies responsible for sanctioning funds to various museums across
Ministry of Culture
The mission of the Ministry is to preserve, promote and disseminate all forms of art and culture in India. To achieve this mission it is supported by a network of 41 organizations, which include 2 attached offices, 6 subordinate offices and 33 autonomous institutions.
The Ministry of Culture is headed by the Minister who is assisted by a Secretary. The team consists of 2 additional secretaries, 6 joint secretaries, 8 directors, 3 deputy secretary, 2 deputy director and 19 undersecretaries. For further information on the portfolio of each title refer to http://www.indiaculture.nic.in/who-who.
The sources of funding for most museums covered in this research are the following:
• Ministry of Culture, Government of India
• Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
• Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage of various State Governments
• Ministry of Customs and central Excise.
• Ministry of Defence (Army and Navy)
• Ministry of Railways, Government of India
• Ministry of Textiles, Government of India
• Private philanthropy
• Public and Private Trusts
• Religious bodies, Public and Private Trusts
• Societies & Foundations
• State Development Authorities
• State Municipal Corporations
• Universities & Institutions
The budget allocation for the different Ministry of Culture supported museums is available on http://www.indiaculture.nic.in/sites/default/files/pdf/DDG-2014-15.PDF. The Ministry of Culture’s annual report 2012-13 has further details. The revenue generated by most government supported museums(mostly entry ticket sales) goes to a common fund managed by the Ministry of Culture. Hence there is no direct impact of revenue generated (or not generated) from these museums on sanctioning of funds.
The majority of the state museums come under the Archaeological and Museums department of their respective states. However, there are some museums which come under the state development authorities. Very little information is available in the public domain on budget allocations for state museums. In most public documents these allocations are usually clubbed with allocations of other related departments.
Non-government museums rely on a variety of sources for their operational needs – trust, foundations, occasional grants from the state or central government and corporate support. Museums inside an institution or college/university are funded by the parent organisation. Some get funding from multiple sources – state government, central government and a trust. Additionally, some museums come under the state development authorities or departments and there are some which come under Private Public Partnership (PPP) model. An example of the PPP model is Kolkata Museum of Modern Art (KMOMA).
Museum shops and café are still to be built in most government-supported museums. Revenue from entry tickets is minimal. The situation is slightly better in privately run initiatives enabling them to earn revenue from shops and cafes. There are a few museums that collect revenue through workshops and special exhibitions. Some museums generate revenue by hiring out facilities, auditoriums and spaces for exhibitions and events, and sale of publications.
Non-government museums or private museums seek sponsorship or support from local business houses, philanthropists or corporate for temporary exhibitions, display, conservation, documentation research and other infrastructural development requirements. However, most museums struggle with generating funds because of lack of support and a lack of awareness or the need for social responsibility for heritage or cultural projects. This may now change as under the new Companies Act in India, certain class of profitable entities are required to shell out at least two per cent of their three-year annual
average net profit towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Schedule VII of the Act lists culture as activities prescribed under CSR: “Enhancement of Craftsmanship while protecting art and culture and measures to restore sites of historical importance and national heritage and promoting the works of art and setting up of public libraries.”
OTHER GRANTS AVAILABLE
Some of the museums have made use of the grants offered by the central government and trusts supporting arts and culture in India. These are:
Ministry of Culture’s Museum Grant Scheme: The Ministry of Culture has a museum grant scheme providing financial assistance for the development of regional and local museums. This scheme also addresses the need for funding of large scale museums on Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework as well. For more information please refer http://indiaculture.nic.in/indiaculture/museum.html
Scheme for Financial Assistance for Digitisation of Museum Collections: This is a new Central scheme aimed at developing a national database of all art objects and antiquities available with Museums at various levels i.e. national level, state level, regional and local museums all across the country in order to provide enhanced accessibility to scholars, researchers and informed visitors. For more information please refer http://indiaculture.nic.in/indiaculture/digitization-museum-collections.html
Scheme for Financial Assistance for Capacity Building and Training of Museum Professionals: This is a new Central scheme under Ministry of Culture aiming to fulfil an urgent need for trained professionals at various levels all across the country. For more information please refer: http://indiaculture.nic.in/indiaculture/capacity-building-and-training-of-museum.html
National Culture Fund (NCF): Established as a funding mechanism distinct from the existing sources and patterns of funding for the arts and culture in India, it enables institutions and individuals to support arts and culture directly as partners with the government. For more information please refer: http://ncf.nic.in/ncf_role_benefit.htm
Dorabji Tata Trust: In 1932, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust was established by Sir Dorabji Tata who donated all his worldly possessions to the Trust. Now known as the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Allied Trusts comprising 5 trusts. They work on several fronts such as promoting the arts scholarship and building archival facilities; protecting and conserving India’s cultural heritage and dying art forms; supporting research and development activities of the arts and supporting development media projects. For more information please refer: http://www.dorabjitatatrust.org/id/116/Thematic%20Area/
India Foundation for the Arts (IFA): They are a national, not-for-profit, grant-making organisation that supports practice, research and education in the arts in India. Their Archival and Museum Fellowships enable artists and curators to engage with public/private archives and museum collections to create new work, thereby enriching their own practice as well as activating these spaces. For more information refer: http://www.indiaifa.org/programmes/fellowships.html
CSR Policies: As mentioned above.
Goa State Museum Financial assistance to private museum/ individuals category: The Government of Goa, Department of Museums has recently recognised private and Individual initiatives in heritage management and announced a financial assistance of up to Rs 25,00,000 for private museums and museums run by individuals in Goa.
Charles Wallace India Trust: CWIT offers grants and scholarships to develop skills in the museum sector.
Two important sources of internal revenue generation – a museum shop and café — are still not very popular among museums, especially government funded museums. The reason given is lack of funds for building the basic infrastructure or lack of designated leaders to head the initiative. However, most are in the process of developing shops and often these are outsourced to other government departments. Examples include the crafts councils, textiles or tourism departments. The scene is slightly better with privately run initiatives which earn a small amount from their publications or restaurants.
PARTNERSHIPS AND INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION
During the course of the research, it was apparent that there is growing awareness of the importance of partnerships and collaborations from both sides. International collaborations with museums have increased recently and, besides the UK, there is increased interest from museums in Germany, USA, China and France.
Collaborating with other museums or partnership of any kind is a relatively new idea in India and very few museums have looked at it seriously and consider it relevant. The data indicates that only a few museums have formed some type of partnership at a local and national level with other museums and even fewer museums have any international collaboration. Partnerships and collaborations are mostly through travelling exhibitions, lending artifacts, inviting foreign professionals to conduct some kind of training, participation in seminars, workshops, symposiums in collaboration with other organisations. International collaborations on exhibitions have been mostly with the major museums but training and capacity building has seen participation from a larger number
of museums. A few exhibits from museums and collections in India have gone abroad for participation in large expositions but this remains a relatively unexplored and complex area.
Many collaborations in the past with the museums under the Ministry of Culture were only limited to being venue partners for foreign travelling exhibitions. However, the scenario is changing. While exchanges of exhibitions between museums in India and abroad have increased, co-curating similar collections from their respective museums is becoming more popular.
In 2013-14, the Arts Council of England’s (ACE) supported non-national museum professionals of the UK to visit various Indian museums, monuments and art galleries to explore partnerships and collaborations. The ACE research report annexed here offers interesting insights, either on similarities in practice or differences in approaches in India and the UK.