Mumbai's oldest museum gets digital makeover

The oldest museum in Mumbai, the Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, is tapping technology in an attempt to upgrade its image and attract a new generation of visitors.

The museum's revamped website (http://bdlmuseum.org) will soon offer virtual tours of major exhibits and a Facebook page has been launched with details of upcoming shows and events.

The 152-year-old museum is also starting to exhibit the work of contemporary Indian artists, including students of the prestigious JJ School of Art in Mumbai. It is also installing a high-tech audio tour that uses headsets and infra-red technology.

"We want to make the museum more exciting and encourage a wider audience to engage with these works," honorary director Tasneem Mehta told local press.

Originally called the Victoria and Albert Museum, after the one in London, the museum has a wide collection of artifacts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that showcase the history of communities that migrated to Mumbai.

Back in its heyday in the early 20th century, the museum exhibited the country's most cutting-edge art. But since India became independent in 1947, it has been regarded as a relic of the colonial era.

In an attempt to recapture its original spirit, the museum has been showcasing the work of contemporary artists, starting with performance artist Nikhil Chopra. Chopra dressed up as Queen Elizabeth I and created a canvas that was exhibited in March this year.

From September 26, the museum will show a 15-piece sculptural installation from Sudarshan Shetty. This will be followed by two exhibitions from the V&A in London - a photography exhibition in November and an exhibition of Olympic posters in January 2011.

LS

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