GOPIO-NEW YORK SEMINAR CALLS FOR MORE AUTONOMY FOR INDIAN MUSEUMS

 

Organizers and some participants with Speaker Vinod Daniel
Seminar organizers and some participants with speaker Vinod Daniel, Sitting in the front row, from l. to. r. Dr. Rohini Ramanathan, Prof. Rupam Saran, Prof. Parmatma Saran, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. Vinod Daniel, Beena Kothari and Thambi Thalappilil. Standing at the extreme right is Kerala Center Founder E.M. Stephen.

Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – New York Chapter (GOPIO-New York) organized a highly successful seminar on Rejuvenating Indian Museums by GOPIO Life Member and GOPIO Cultural Council Co-chair Vinod Daniel from Sydney, Australia. The seminar was held on June 21st at the Indian American Kerala Center in Elmont, New York, where Daniel called upon Govt. of India and state government to provide more autonomy to Indian museums.

The program started with welcome greetings and messages from Kerala Center President Thambi Thalappillil and GOPIO-New York President Beena Kothari. GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham introduced the speaker Vino Daniel, an Australian citizen of Indian origin, who is an internationally renowned museum specialist with over 20 years in senior management roles with the Australian Museum (Sydney) and the J Paul Getty Trust (Los Angeles).

Daniel has been working on Museum projects in over 45 countries and provides leadership to several national and international heritage bodies including being Chairman of the Board for AusHeritage and a Board Member of the International Council of Museums, the museum peak body representing over 43,000 museum professionals and 20,000 museums from over 140 countries.

Daniel said that museums across the world have only a small percentage of collections and artifacts and the majority are outside the museums in temples and private collections. He called upon government around the world to establish digital databases, particularly in countries like India, to maintain required checks and prevent valuable antiquities from being smuggled.

“You can protect the museum very well but what do you do with all the collection that is outside. Most objects are not in museums but are in temples and private hands,” said Daniel.

“There has to be checks and balances in place to ensure these artifacts are not stolen and then smuggled out of countries to be sold to unsuspecting buyers and museums,” he said.

“India is at a very exciting phase in its transformation and would be important that the Government prioritize culture especially museums and works at a 10 to 15-year transformation strategy,” Daniel added.

Daniel suggested to include new governance arrangements that provides greater autonomy, human resource development and funding for better infrastructure including for storage and displays.

Daniel, who is CEO of India Vision Institute (IVI, www.indiavisioninstitute.org), a charitable Trust assisting underprivileged communities in India to access a pair of glasses also spoke on how NRIs and PIOs could get involved to help under privileged to get reading glasses. The charity is currently involved in projects in over 18 Indian states.

GOPIO-New York can be contacted at beena.kothari@gmail.com, Tel: 631-988-1280.

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