Preserving degradable artefacts a challenge: Nagaland museum director

Kohima: As International Museum Day was celebrated on Thursday, officials at the state museum in Kohima shared how preserving degradable artefacts at the famous tourist attraction site has become a challenge.

Speaking to EastMojo on the occasion, Adela Moa, Director of Art and Culture, said that the state museum hosts over 4,000 artefacts out of which about 2,000 artefacts are put on display at the museum on a rotational basis.

Located about 2KM from Kohima town, the museum witnesses an annual footfall of about 1,00,000 visitors including domestic and international tourists. The latest addition to the museum is the ‘Archaeological and Heritage gallery’, which was inaugurated last week. 

“Most of our specimens are degradable as they are organically made such as textile, head gears that have hair, and so on which needs good maintenance. It is always a challenge to preserve our degradable artefacts because of the weather as well,” she said.

In this regard, she said that a few of the staff under the department have been trained for the maintenance of the artefacts. She informed that a total of 25 officers are currently on an educational tour to Delhi where they are undergoing training on procedures for maintaining artefacts, and the different systems involved in running a museum. 

While the museum displays ancient Naga artefacts, the new Archaeology and Heritage gallery is one that visitors should not miss. In this section of the museum, one is greeted with the sight of a gigantic earthen jar right in the centre, and artefacts used for Naga burial practices such as burial jars on the right and log coffins on the left, to name a few.

The new gallery was an initiative of the Department in collaboration with a team of archaeologists led by Professor Tiatoshi Jamir. The collection highlights the precolonial history and the pre-history of Nagaland.

Moa informed that the team excavated the specimens from the districts of Phek, Kiphire, Tuensang. 

Celebrating International Museum Day, the State Museum which charge Rs 10 as entry fee on other days has made entry free for all visitors till May 20.  She encouraged residents of the state to take advantage of the opportunity to visit the museum, especially encouraging parents to take their children to the museum to learn about the history, culture, and heritage of the Nagas.

As the study on Naga Heritage has been incorporated into the school curriculum, she assured that a visit to the museum will not go to waste. In the next two days, hundreds of school students are also expected to visit the museum.

The months of April and May, she informed, also witnessed a huge turnout of domestic tourists at the state museum.  Most tourists, she observed, show interest in the ethnological, textiles and ornament galleries of the museum. 

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To upgrade the museum, she informed that plans are in the pipeline to build kiosks to display audio-visuals of indigenous games, songs and dances.  

Also Read | Naga leaders in Manipur discuss ethnic clashes, form ‘peace committee’

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