‘Museums can heavily contribute to leisure tourism development in Nepal’

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Lalitpur, July 9, 2017: Nepal holds many opportunities for museums being a multi-ethnic country with a sizeable number of archaeological sites and new sites being discovered.

Last Friday, Patan Museum witnessed an Open Dialogue on State of Museums in Nepal to discuss the current scenario of museums in Nepal and the opportunities and challenges involved. The speakers of the program, Pashupati Neupane, Lecturer at Tribhuvan University and Suresh Man Lakhe, acting head of Patan Museum, briefly presented the ongoing scenario of museums in Nepal.

Neupane, who calls himself a museum practitioner, captioned a museum as a socio-cultural centre, dynamic institution, education centre and the preservation centre of national identity. He mentioned that museums would not only help in the conservation and preservation of our culture but also help in creating employment opportunities. “Also, museums can contribute to leisure tourism development as tourism can be flourished even in off seasons. For instance, Namche Bazar, a tourist destination which has its record of having tourists stay for the longest period among all, doesn’t have any museum. If one is to set a museum there, imagine the possibilities of tourism during off seasons,” Neupane shed lights about the possibility of museum’s contribution in tourism.

Next, he pointed out to the improper vision, policies, confinement of human resources, ineffective budget utilization, poor infrastructure and accessibility as the major challenges in the museum sector of Nepal. “Without tackling these problems, the condition of Nepali museums can’t be improved,” he mentioned.

“However, new areas of museums are being explored in the world which holds immense potentials in Nepal as well,” Neupane revealed, adding, “The snake museum established in Jhapa has come as a boon for the region that continuously witnesses troubles and deaths due to venomous snakes in the area. Likewise, there are many new areas of museums which can be established in Nepal according to the geography and situation of the place. We just need to explore them.” He presented the possibilities of modern museums in the areas of agriculture, forest, science and technology, bio-diversity, ecology, open air and earthquake.

Similarly, Suresh Man Lakhe presented some of the existing laws on museums enacted by the government and briefed the history of Patan Museum. “This museum has been acclaimed by the visitors as one of the finest museums in South Asia.  This motivates all the staff to maintain the legacy of the museum. For now, our focus has been towards imparting museum education. The hall where we are having a dialogue today will soon be turned into a library and a research centre,” shared Lakhe. He also mentioned other programs being carried out by the team such as distribution of booklets and postcards for the promotion of the museum.

The program then saw a very keen audience putting forward their utmost curiosities and queries. During the Q&A session, Lakhe revealed that a lifetime membership system for Patan Musem is under discussion and will be implemented by 2017 hopefully. When asked about their efforts to maintain the status of Patan Museum, he mentioned the latest maintenance activities and the provision of latrine system in the museum which is quite rare in Nepali museums. On the issue of co-ordination among museums in Nepal, Lakhe mentioned, “There is no written document yet envisioning the collaboration between museums but, we do participate and co-ordinate in each other’s events and projects. We are planning to increase the co-ordination among other museums as we all are working for a similar cause.”

The students participating the program, especially who are pursuing museology, a course recently introduced in Nepal, discussed the scope and future of the course in Nepal with the lecturer of TU, Pashupati Neupane. Also, on being asked about the prerequisites for establishing a museum, Neupane replied, “Site selection, good vision, infrastructure and interior design, accessibility, collection of materials, and availability of human resources should be put into special consideration in order to set up a museum.”

This event was the first part of the ongoing dialogue series and the moderator acknowledged the series will see its next discussion in a week or two. The event has certainly paved a basic roadmap for further discussions on building the People’s Museum of Earthquake (PME) as planned by Earthquake Museum Coordination Team.

Representative Photograph: kathmandu-valley-temples.com

By Drishti Maharjan

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