Calcutta University is renovating its Asutosh Museum of Indian Art, a rich treasure trove of sculptures, paintings and manuscripts dating back centuries, to give a better display to its exhibits.
Through the renovation, which is expected to be completed by next year, the university seeks to make the commoners aware of the rich archival contents that have remained unnoticed for long, Vice Chancellor Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee said.
“Most of the terracotta items and the antiques were not stored properly. We will keep the exhibits at a controlled temperature with digital lighting on each item. In consultation with experts, we have undertaken the drive to revamp the infrastructure and facilities of the museum,” she told PTI.
A major portion of the collection comprises terracotta items unearthed in the 1940s from various archaeological sites in West Bengal such as Chandraketugarh, Tamluk, Panna, Tilda, Bangarh, Mahasthangarh and Paharpur.
The museum houses paintings by renowned artist Jamini Roy, and also has portraits of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Rabindranath Tagore and Michael Madhusudan Dutt, which had been lying in a state of neglect, she said, adding there are also many valuables donated by royals.
“There are many interesting items in the museum, which is on different floors of the centenary building of the 164-year-old university. Even many people visiting the campus were unaware of the existence of such a museum. We want to make people aware of their heritage,” she said.
The vice chancellor said that renovating the museum at par with global standards and showcasing the artefacts would also help in building the brand of Calcutta University.
“Many people from across the globe visit the university campus for different reasons. The museum will definitely attract them too,” she said.
As part of the renovation drive, the main gate of the College Street campus has been renovated while retaining its architectural characteristics, and the VC”s chamber has been given a facelift, while work is underway in other centuries-old portions of the premier institution, including the Darbhanga Building, she said, adding all work is being undertaken in consultation with the state Heritage Commission.
(WITH THE INPUTS OF PTI).