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Museums get resource management
SHWETA SHARMA  20th Nov 2011

Preview of the Nemai Ghosh Archives in assciation with the Delhi Art Gallery at the India Art Summit, 2009

n India, where cultures and communities feature and function differently in social morphology, museums lack a definitive foresight. As a result, they sometimes do not realise the value of the different collections they possess. In an effort to identify the benefits of a museum, which creatively interprets and makes available a rich learning experience from its collections, Pramod Kumar K.G. along with Deepthi Sasidharan, a trained museologist and a Fulbright scholar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, started Eka Cultural Resources and Researches in 2009.

The initiative addresses the increasing need for a professional organisation within the culture and heritage industry. "The word 'eka' has a Sanskrit root and means 'single'. As Eka was at the time of its inception, and still is, the sole museum management company in India, it was only befitting to christen the company so," says Kumar, its founder and managing director.

Eka helps individuals and institutions manage and organise their cultural resources and collections by creating tailored solutions and programmes, which are aimed at the curation, promotion and preservation of culture in all its forms. "Most private Indian collections are organised like bhandars or ajibghars (house of curiosities). At Eka, we try to ensure that collections offer more than just visual delight; the way pieces are managed and displayed is crucial for this. A lot goes behind developing curatorial strategies that reveal and share complete information about a collection or museum," he says.

He further says that storage and handling are a primary concern for all kinds of artefacts. The absence of governmental policies that necessitate training for professionals here, in keeping with the best global standards involving storage handling and conservation, has led to a few unfortunate narratives. "But we're optimistic about the rate at which awareness can be generated. With a little thought, one can manage perfectly well with what is available in India," Kumar says.

The company encourages its clients to allow researchers, scholars and other interest groups access to their collections. "Independent collectors and trusts or bodies that maintain these collections have their own compulsions and mandates. We advise full and unconditional sharing, but digitising and making information available is the client's choice, one which can sometimes be inhibited by the cost of digitising a collection apart from the condition and scale of materials held," says Kumar.

Eka is the museum consultant to the City Palace Museum, Udaipur, advising it on every aspect of its representation; it is also a consultant for the photography section of the museum collection at Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, Jaipur. Apart from that, it is helping to catalogue and archive a large tribal textile collection in West Asia. The collection of late 19th and early 20th century tribal costumes is the most significant of such collections in the world.

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