Ever wondered what the oldest object in a collection is? Or whether a particular painting or exhibit has a hidden meaning? What does it mean to be a Curator and is there an academic course for it? Ask-A-Curator Day is for all the things you always wanted to know but didn’t know who or how to ask!

In India, museum visits are either institutional or tourist-y things to do.  It is not common to walk into a museum and find a curator to answer your questions; even if you do, it “might” feel intimidating, and so, days like Ask-A-Curator are much needed!

Yesterday, India had it’s first Ask-A-Curator Day and needless to say I was pretty excited. I saw this as a great opportunity for facilitating the museum-and-public interaction. With Curators suddenly becoming accessible (they always are, but we just didn’t know it), the event breaks barriers and helps museums and people learn from each other. People who are otherwise shy about asking a Question can do so on Twitter (no question is silly); and more than anything, this is a great chance for museums to find out what the public is most interested in / curious about. For the Govt.Museum Chandigarh, the Q&A was definitely a chance to reflect on their long-term and short-term goals, while CSMVS is probably even more pepped up to organise a Night-at-the-Museum.

According to Mar Dixon, creator of the event, “It’s a win-win for everyone involved, and a free for all in every sense”, and therefore a real fun event to be engaged in!

Cutting back to all that I learnt about one of India’s best Museums, CSMVS. I’ve categorised the many amazing questions received by the curators so here goes:

Curators

In another response, CSMVS Mumbai mentioned they have 10 Curators and I was wondering if they’re superhuman to be handling all that work, amidst themselves! Just when I began to wonder what all they got done in a day:

Do you really have to “study” to be a Curator? Turns out that a Museum Studies course is a must!

But as they say, sometimes all you need is a recipe for success 😉

Curatorial work is research-oriented as indicated by CSMVS in other responses. So in case you’re getting a check on the above qualities (and qualifications), apply to be a Curator! Get more information on CSMVS’ Museum Studies course and get going!

Objects and Galleries at CSMVS

The Oldest Object

I was really itching to ask this question from the day I first visited this museum, and am so glad someone did!

The Top 5 things to see at CSMVS

With 22 galleries, the museum isn’t something you can see in an hour, or even in a day for that matter. So if you had to, what would be the most important things to see?

Here’s what CSMVS suggests:
a. Mahishasurmardini sculptures in ground floor especially the solapith one
b. Great Bath in Pre & Proto History gallery
c. Maitreya Buddha shrine in Himalayan Art gallery
d. Nataraj /Ivory howdah in Indian decorative art gallery
e. Textile banner depicting Ramayana on loan from TAPI Collection

and probably if you have some more time to spare : the Dioramas in the Miniature Painting gallery & Natural History section.

Children at CSMVS

Speaking of the Natural History section, on our visit there, the husband kept pulling me to the section eager to show off a childhood favourite.  And when asked what a kids’ starting point at the Museum should be, there was an answer with a picture!

Curatorial Favourites

Just as at an eatery, when you don’t know what to order, you simply ask for the “Chef’s Special”; at a Museum, for the first time, always the safest to go with the Curatorial Recommendation:

 

Future Plans

For the most part of it, I think this one ruled the conversation:

Tweet with #nightatcsmvs and convince the Museum!! Apart from Met-Inspiration, there was a question on 3-D printing too.

Let’s hope these plans get realised soon. In the meantime, here’s a look at the awesome educational work CSMVS is doing and definitely setting a trend!

Education at CSMVS

Curators sometimes, have to double up as educators too!

I’m a big advocate for Museum-based learning so I really appreciated knowing that a Curator specially creates temporary exhibitions to suit school curriculum.

Look out for the Museum-bus, it might come hopping around you someday soon!

That’s all folks! Sometimes it is really empowering to know things even Google doesn’t!! If this post has inspired you to Ask-a-Curator your own question, leave it in the box below! As Einstein said :

The important thing is not to stop questioning…

 

 

 

 

 

exercise your right to free-speech here :

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