Sunday , 15 September 2019
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Fate of 10,000 artefacts hangs in balance

PANAJI : The future of the over 10,000 valuable artefacts in the possession of the Goa State Museum and presently stored in the Adil Shah Palace is under threat, with dampness affecting them during the monsoon, while humidity/ salinity causing damage to them during rest of the year.

These artefacts had to be shifted to their present location, during the summer of 2017, after the barely 20-year old Goa State Museum building deteriorated beyond repair, due to the water seepage and roof leaks.

The 10,000-odd artefacts, many of them dating back to the pre-Portuguese era are priceless items and their destruction could be disastrous from the heritage point of view.

Minister for Museums, Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar told  ‘The Navhind Times’ that the new museum will not come up in place of the existing dilapidated museum building at Patto.

“We have identified a land around Panaji for constructing new museum building and already moved the related file for approval,” he added, pointing out, “However, once this land is acquired, it would take at least two years for the new museum building to get ready.”

Museum director Radha Bhave told this daily that the ground floor of the Adil Shah Palace has been temporarily converted into a mini-museum with very few of these 10,000-odd artefacts put on display at the four galleries under the categories namely ‘glimpses of Goan culture’, ‘Goan expression through the ages’, the Portuguese phase’ and ‘Goa’s freedom struggle’.

“We have made this makeshift arrangement, with these artefacts to be placed in the new museum building once it is constructed,” the museum director informed, adding that the land still remains to be identified, before the construction of the new museum building begins. She also stated that after few months, the artefacts presently on display at the four galleries would be replaced by other pieces, so that they do not remain in the packed state for too long.

A visit to the makeshift museum in the Adil Shah Palace revealed that the heavy rains during the day had resulted in rainwater entering in one of the storage rooms. Furthermore, the moisture has peeled the lime and paint off the walls giving an ugly look to this ‘new’ museum.

The museum director informed that the makeshift museum was opened at the Adil Shah Palace on January 18, earlier this year.

“Some tourists, including foreigners do visit this small museum out of curiosity, but it is just not the museum they would like to see and one we would like to present,” she lamented.

The museum has in its possession many valuable artefacts like towering wooden chariot used during temple festivals, old printing press machinery dating back to Portuguese  rule in Goa, precious Portuguese era currency notes, pre-Portuguese figurines carved from stone, rare photographs of Goan freedom struggle, antique furniture dating back to the Portuguese times and so on.

It is sad to see the present state of these artefacts, which in any way do not come under the priority list of the government. However, if at all even a small section of these 10,000-odd items is permanently damaged, then it would be not only a loss to the museum but also deletion of a part of Goan history, and that too at a time when the government is desperately trying to preserve the identity of the region.

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