Celebrating the opening of the Bihar Museum
On October 2, 2017 the Lord South Asia office celebrated the opening of all galleries of the Bihar Museum on by the Honourable Chief Minister of Bihar, Mr. Nitish Kumar. During the opening ceremony, he spoke of the museum as transformational, asserting the importance of the Government of Bihar’s vision for an exceptional new museum of international standards for the children and people of Bihar, and also spoke extensively of Lord Cultural Resource's role in the project as Master Planners and exhibit designers.
Patna has always been a centre of importance through the ages, and the Museum showcases Bihar’s precious and vast collection of antiquities – engaging visitors with 4000 years of Bihar’s history and its legacy to the modern world.
"The Didarganj Yakshini is the Mona Lisa of Bihar. Even better," says Anjani Kumar Singh, the chief secretary of Bihar. "We must tell our stories. We must promote our heritage and our culture."
We at Lord Cultural Resources have supported the Museum’s development over the last six years with developing the master plan and exhibition design. The master plan is the road map that includes the interpretive plan, facility plan, public program plan, staffing and operational plan. As a part of the master plan, Lord organised and administered the architectural competition to select the architects based on the RFP prepared by Lord Cultural Resources. Renowned architects Maki & Associates and Opolis have designed the 24,000 SM building on a 14-acre landscaped site. As the exhibition designers for the galleries, we also reviewed the exhibit fabrication of the galleries.
The Museum tells the story of Bihar through its galleries - an Orientation Pre-show Gallery, a delightful Children’s section, several History Galleries, a Historic Art Gallery, and other galleries showcasing Bihar’s exquisite Regional Art and Indian Contemporary Art.
The Children’s and Pre-show Orientation Galleries that were inaugurated mid-completion in Aug 2015 are now almost complete and we're happy with how they’ve turned out. Other highlights are the fabulous display in the Regional Art Gallery and the Contemporary Art Gallery. The Museum had also organised a 3 day art workshop attended by over 30 contemporary Indian artists. It was a very festive occasion and the building, designed by Maki & Associates – Opolis, was highly decorated with a multitude of lights, flowers and beautiful traditional rangoli patterns on the floor.
"Imagine a village woman coming and looking at contemporary art," says acclaimed artist Subodh Gupta, whose installation will soon be part of the new Museum. "Other states and the government of India must learn from Bihar."
There is also a gallery dedicated to tracing the global reach of Bihar’s culture through its Diaspora. The Museum has multiple sculpture courtyards and a variety of spaces for public programming and learning, and a temporary exhibition gallery in addition to the permanent galleries.
The Children’s section was inaugurated in August 2015. Through a hands-on approach, the Children’s Galleries invite visitors to explore Bihar’s wildlife sanctuaries and learn of Bihar’s history through immersive and interactive exhibits. In the Discovery Room, children rebuild replica artefacts from broken terracotta sherds, learn how to use field tools to excavate and how to decipher ancient scripts. Visitors can know about the rich archaeological sites of Bihar such as Nalanda, Telhara and others.
The Museum was further honoured last week with a visit and tour by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who penned the following thoughts in the Museum’s Visitor Book (as translated from Gujarati):
Faith inspires viewing. Exhibition encourages curiosity. Best place to experience history and culture's heritage. Congratulations. ~ Narendra Modi.
While work on completing the history galleries will be ongoing, it is wonderful to see the people of Bihar enjoy their state-of-the-art Museum!