Expo showcases damage to heritage

While the audience comprised people connected with museums, it intrigued people from all walks of life.

New Delhi: Humans cause more damage to tangible cultural heritage than any other factor such as nature or environment, an exhibition on preventive conservation in the city has showcased.

The exhibition was recently organised by a group of students from Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts to celebrate the 30th Foundation Day of the institute.

The students of PG Diploma in Preventive Conservation used wall hanging posters to suggest ways to conserve tangible cultural heritage monuments seeking to ensure that they remain accessible to the present and future generations.

One of the flowchart diagrams highlighted the fact that deterioration of cultural heritage is more due to human aggressors than natural aggressors such as flood, earthquake, storm among others.

Besides nature, damages due to fire, colour bleeding, vandalism and theft are also major factors behind the deterioration of cultural heritage.

“It may be intentional or unintentional, but the acts by humans turn out to be the biggest factors to be blamed for the deterioration of cultural heritage,” Aditi, one of the participating students, said.

Newspaper clippings related to a massive fire at Delhi’s National Museum of Natural History last year; 16 antique Kashmiri shawls missing from the Delhi’s Crafts Museum; and theft of a dagger gifted to Jawaharlal Nehru by Saudi Arabia also found place in the preventive conservation exhibition, further bolstering the claim.

With three broad classifications of conservation – preventive, remedial and restoration, the posters touched upon explaining various environmental factors such as light, heat and humidity among others. That may deteriorate the condition of the antique objects or structures, they argued.

The students have used flowcharts and diagrams to describe the types of museum objects — organic, such as paper manuscript; inorganic, like the Natraj sculpture in bronze, which is prone to corrosion; and composite, which is a mix of the two, for example the famous painting — The Mona Lisa.

While the audience comprised people connected with museums, it intrigued people from all walks of life.

“This concept has intrigued people from all walks of life and we have answered several queries from several visitors, many of them not even remotely linked to museums,” Aditi said.

The posters not only highlighted the factors deteriorating heritage, but also enlarge on the measures that can be taken to prevent and restore them. For monitoring purpose, the posters suggest instruments like Whirling.

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