On February 22, 2023, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan; Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr. Virendra Kumar; Union Tourism and Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy, and Minister of State for Culture Meenakshi Lekhi inaugurated an exhibition titled ‘Return of Costume Treasures on Protection and Restoration of Cultural Property’ at Maharaja Chhatrasal Convention Hall at Khajuraho in Chhatarpur district of the state.
A re-address returns off (treasures) was also released on the occasion. It is noteworthy that 2014 from to 2022, the Government of India has brought back 229 countries and returned rare items related to heritage. Selected items from these are displayed in the exhibition.
The objective of this exhibition is to showcase the spirit, need and future of repatriation of cultural wealth through select examples of successful return of cultural heritage in India and around the world. The exhibition has become a medium to showcase cultural objects, their history and the stories surrounding their successful return.
Under the aegis of The Ministry of Culture, Government of India, the Archaeological Survey of India and the National Institute of Museums and the National Museum have jointly Re-Dress organized the exhibition Treasure Return.
The exhibition has been made part of the G20 Culture Working Group (CWG) meetings held across India by the Ministry of Culture. Among the most important pieces on display at the exhibition is the woman who was brought back to India from Canada in 2015. It is now housed at the ASI Site Museum in Khajuraho.
Around 26 antiquities from across India are featured in the exhibition, complemented with photographs and visuals of antiquities returned to India so far, along with some encouraging examples of repatriation from other parts of the world.
It is known that so far, a total of 242 antiquities from different countries have been repatriated to India. Many others are still in the process of returning. Global efforts towards bringing back cultural wealth are excellent examples of cultural and international cooperation between countries. These pieces of art and antiquity, past victims of illegal trafficking are now being exhibited as cultural ambassadors and advocates of the repatriation of cultural heritage.
The team of Heritage Transportation Trust which has been founded by Tarun Thakral curated and executed the entire exhibition. This included the setup, creating digital content to complement the physical objects, ensuring that the content was precise yet informative so that it would compel audiences to take note of the importance of repatriation of historical objects. The Heritage Transportation Trust was founded in 2006, owns and manages the Heritage Transport Museum.
Heritage Transportation Trust is a registered non-profit Trust that has funded and developed India’s first comprehensive transport museum: Heritage Transport Museum. The Museum opened its doors to visitors in December 2013 at Taoru, off Delhi-Jaipur Highway, near Gurgaon – Manesar in Haryana. The museum aims not merely to educate a diverse audience about the history of transportation in India, but to serve as an archival legacy for children in the generations to come.
Heritage Transport Museum has been built on a 3.01-acre land encompassing 95,000 square feet area with Exhibition Galleries, Library & Reference Centre, Mini Auditorium, Museum Souvenir Shop, Seminar Rooms, and a Refreshment Area. The Museum sets the standard for Indian Museums with its dramatic displays, in-depth interpretation, extensive collection and exciting opportunities for visitor participation. As a centre for collection, research, preservation, education and display of Indian Transport history, the Heritage Transport Museum showcases the evolution of transportation in India. Over 1 million visitors have visited the Museum so far and has been rated as one of the best Transport Museums in the world. The Museum has also won the National Tourism Award by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India alongside various other awards till date.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tarun Thakral is Founder and Managing Trustee at Heritage Transport Museum which curated and executed the entire exhibition.