Manisha Nene, Assistant Director, Galleries, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) Museum, Mumbai, India (ITP 2011) shares her thoughts on her visit to Glasgow for the Museums Association Conference 2016.
The Museum Association’s Glasgow conference is the first such conference I have attended. Thanks to ITP organizers at the British Museum, as usual the arrangements for the ITPers were excellent. Claire and Emma were as loving and caring as ever.
The conference was for two days and its main focus was on community engagement; making museums meaningful places for people and how museums can change lives.
On Sunday there was a welcome reception in the evening at Kelvin Hall. There were more than 200 museum professionals discussing different museum related issues and sharing their views. It was a real networking reception. The visit to Kelvin Hall was a real eye opener for me. It gave me a new insight into museum storage ideas, community participation, digital archives and interactives. You can learn more at http://kelvinhall.org.uk/.
On the first day of the conference it was freezing cold – just 1 degree. We reached the introductory speeches at 9 am. This was followed by a number of interesting sessions spread throughout the whole day. There were speakers from the UK as well rest of the world to share their experiences, best practices and ideas about the future of museums. The topics were broadly classified under heads like Being Brave, People and Places and Health and well-being.
All the sessions were interesting, but one has to select as per his or her own interests. I am particularly interested in understanding the museum scene outside of India, the new approaches, so I attended sessions like seeking refuge, museums and peace building, the museum activist, connecting people and objects and places.
By attending all these sessions I realized that we in India, as museum professionals, have to go a long way to utilize museums in the best possible manner, transforming them from store houses to active community centres.
I realized that working in a major museum in Mumbai we are not doing anything for the different communities in Mumbai, we need to preserve and conserve their culture. I will try to initiate programmes in CSMVA that involve different communities, which can be one of the steps to preserve their vanishing cultures. If I am able to do this it will be a great result of attending this conference.
Besides these sessions there were interesting information stalls on various museum related subjects like display cases, conservation, digitization, archives etc.
Post lunch we visited the Riverside Museum – an excellent display of Glasgow’s Museum of Transport – http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/riverside/pages/default.aspx