A Jodhpur museum with a formidable collection of brooms that tells the story of gender, class and caste; another in Bengaluru that showcases 400 human brains, some of which you can touch (on request); and a ‘Conflictorium’ in Ahmedabad that explores the history of conflict in Gujarat and has ‘The Sorry Tree’ on whose branches you can tie apology notes. India’s museums — big or small, eccentric or iconic, unexplored or popular — have now been brought together under a digital umbrella by Sahapedia, an online resource on heritage, culture and the arts.
The Mapping Museums Project began with a repertoire of 100 museums last year and today includes over 250 museums on its website museumsofindia.org. Another 600 will join in the course of this year.
On a cool winter morning, Sahapedia’s South Delhi office is abuzz as the team discusses its plans to redesign its website into something easier to navigate and with more complex features.
Sahapedia’s founder and executive director Sudha Gopalakrishnan tells me how it all began. “We were struck by the fact that there are so many museums that are not known in India.” So a well-oiled network of museum professionals and researchers fanned out across more than 20 cities to visit and document as many as they could.