This is the first post this year of a new weekly initiative 2 On 1 of Shackman and mine to write on the same subject every Friday.
My association with museums started with a number of visits to the Government Museum Chennai. It was an annual ritual with martinet class teachers herding us around things we had no interest in. We would have been happier playing football or cricket instead.
In my mid teens, my brother Arvind and I were taken off on a short vacation to Bombay as it was then known by our uncle and one day, he simply dropped us off at the entrance to the Prince of Wales Museum as it was then known with some cash in our hands and told us to see properly as we were to be quizzed by him later in the evening. We dutifully went through the museum but more enjoyed the snacks outside. Subsequently, having been posted in Bombay on four separate stretches, I had visited the same museum as an adult on several occasions primarily escorting friends and family.
It was in Hyderabad in the early sixties where the visits to the famous Salar Jung Museum became more voluntary, not because I suddenly became interested in anitques or collectibles but, because it was a place to go to at very little expense with my then steady girl friend. Further visits were also made to escort her relatives or friends.
In 1973, we were posted in Calcutta as it was then known and so I had the very unpleasant duty of escorting my beloved wife and a couple of her visiting friends to the Indian Museum Calcutta, the oldest in India.
After that came a long period of having nothing to do with museums as I was busy with other more important things in life.
Then came 1980 when I was transferred to Delhi and for the first time was happy to visit a museum voluntarily and with great joy escort visitors too, The National Railw Museum Delhi. I have lost count on the number of times that I have visited this museum, sometimes on my own to recharge my batteries but mostly escorting visiting friends and family. Given the opportunity, I would like to visit it again before I pop off.
We shifted to Pune in 1990 and naturally had to make the pilgrimage to the famous Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. Another museum that had no special interest for me but I had to visit on a few occasions to escort visiting family and friends.
I have also visited some other famous museums in the West but because I had to rather than I wanted to. Had I not, on return to India, I would have not been able to answer knowledgeable Indians asking me if I had been to the Tate of the Metropolitan or seen the painting of The Last Supper.
I am now at that stage of life I myself am a museum piece and hence do not foresee any more visits to any museum.
12 thoughts on “Museums. 2 On 1.”
I’m even more of a relic than you are, but this post brings back warm memories of trips to museums. I won’t see them again but not because I don’t like them, just because we hate to travel. 🙂
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I have now reached that stage of life when I too do not like the idea of travelling. More I think is my preference for the comfort zone that I have created for myself at home and in Pune where I live.
I’ve visited more than a few museums in my time … Washington’s ‘Smithsonian’ … Paris’s ‘Louvre’ … New York’s ‘MOMA’ … London’s ‘V & A’, where I once attended a very ‘arty-farty’ cocktail party; but my favourite was always The British Museum because it had a very nice gent’s loo which was very ‘convenient’ (sorry !) as it was in the centre of my ‘patch’ when I worked as a young salesman in and around the Bloomsbury area of London.
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Behind the Museum in Mumbai, there was and still is a very popular art gallery called the Jehangir Art Gallery. Attached to that was a cafeteria called Samovar where the arty types used to hang out and I have spent some time there hobnobbing with some very famous artists. Samovar was closed down a few years ago due to a court order for some reason or the other and when I read about it it brought a lot of memories back of those days.
the ‘veiled Rebecca’ in the Salar Jung is amazing. how it has the effect of the veil and yet her face is clearly visible through it. I had to see it in full screen. and wow!
thanks to the internet I can enjoy this kind of experience right in the comfort of my home… which like you I now prefer.
did you boys pass the test of your uncle? LOL
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No, the topic did not come up at all in the evening!
I don’t visit many museums but I visit plenty of art galleries. Jenny and I have just been to several London galleries to catch up with their current art exhibitions. I think the most extraordinary museum I’ve been to must be the Topography of Terror in Berlin – the former Gestapo headquarters, documenting the horrors of Nazism. Frightening but educational.
You will recollect that I was married to an artist of some repute here. I have lost count of the number of galleries that I have visited with her and alone during my travels, to come back and report to her on what I saw.
Museums have their purpose, and it helps if they are well-designed, with exhibits that are chosen with a view of appealing to all ages. I was very young when I spent many hours with a friend in the British Museum in London, England. I considered fashion very important at the time, and wore very high heels. Big mistake! That experience was the start of bunions, and other foot problems. What a reminder of a trip that should have been memorable for other reasons!
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STLF, as a rookie salesman, the first lesson that I received from a seasoned old veteran Supervisor was to wear comfortable shoes, underwear and clothes so that discomfort did not distract me from my task. I have never forgotten the lesson and till today, I will not compromise on those.
http://www.aucklandmuseum.com this is my local, iconic, perched in the domain museum, it has many stuffed relics but it also has some amazing events from time to time
I’m slightly famous with my friend Alison, we have a piece in their collection at Te Papa https://www.tepapa.govt.nz
How I wish that I could visit! Unfortunately, my travelling days are over and so I must satisfy myself by desk top tourism.
You are famous among this group of bloggers too!
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