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Museum Of Legacies: Everything But A Legacy?

Humans built museums to store and display historic, scientific, artistic, and cultural objects. Most museums curate objects from the past. The moment someone mentions the word museum, it automatically implies history. Museum of Legacies is a new addition to the list of museums in Jaipur.

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Museum of Legacies

It is housed in a Haveli of an important minister in the court of Jaipur –Pandit Shiv Deen. He donated his residence to be converted into an art school in 1857 AD. It has been in use as an art school ever since.

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Old picture of Maharajah School of Arts & Crafts from the 19th century

For 29 years it was called – Madarsaa-e-Hunar which implies school of arts & skills. Thereafter it was popular as Maharaja School of Arts & Crafts. As per available information, Pandit Shiv Deen was the first principal of Jaipur Maharajah college in 1844 AD. He was a tutor to Maharajah Ram Singh II  (1835-1880 AD)

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Museum of Legacies was earlier known as Maharajah School Of Arts & Craft

Museum of Legacies is situated in Kishanpol Bazaar, one of the prominent bazaars of the walled city area in Jaipur. The museum is run by the Department of Archaeology. Popular tourist attractions like Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Nahargarh Fort are managed by this department.

There have been talks to convert this Haveli into a museum for a long time. The building was closed for the public during the last few years under renovation plan. I had an opportunity to explore this building during one of the events in Jaipur – Travel Photo Jaipur. You can read about my exploration of this building in this post. Travel Postcard Exhibition

Sharing a few pictures from my past visit to what was then called Maharajah school of arts & craft.

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Travel Photo Jaipur
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Picture of courtyard during travel Photo Jaipur in 2016

 

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Picture of one of the rooms at Maharajah School of Arts & Crafts during Travel Photo Jaipur 2016

Here are a few pictures of the Museum of Legacies from my recent visit.

 

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Post-renovation – Museum Of Legacies

From the courtyard, one can choose to visit any of the three galleries on the ground floor. I chose a gallery on the left side – the fabric and garment section. It is the biggest of all three galleries. Called Everyday Embroideries, it focuses on embroidery work on fabrics.

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Gallery- Everyday Embroideries

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Rajasthan has a rich tradition of embroidery work and the articles on display highlight the same. The gallery has a few pieces on display. Unlike traditional museums, it is patterned on “Boutique” layout. I flipped through the display but wasn’t impressed. Even though there is a description beneath each, it doesn’t add to the experience.

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Embroidered durry on display
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A close-up of the embroidery

I strongly feel that before one starts with the exhibits he or she should have a clear understanding of things to expect. The museum ignores certain regions of the state. Rajasthan is a huge territory and has a diversity of clothes and garments. They are not captured fully in this museum.

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Tribal section
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Embroidery & fabric section as seen from the mezzanine floor

This mezzanine floor has a section dedicated to the tribal art especially the Bhil art of Rajasthan. The section is interesting and colorful & follows a different style and pattern. Here are a few pictures from this section.

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indian tribal art photo jaipur museum

 

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The second gallery on the ground floor has art pieces. It is called Visual Journeys and contains a small collection. Some of the pieces curated here are unique and outstanding.

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Two of my favorite ones are marble jali and Chhipkali Pakshi artwork. Marble Jali is made out of white marble from Aandhi region in Rajasthan and is inspired by the painted ceiling in Jaipur City Palace. It is a beautifully carved piece presented as a lattice or Jali.

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Marble Jali

Chhipkali Pakshi is a painting in Gond style. Gond is a tribal painting from central India. This painting has a lizard and a bird. Gond art is not well known even in India.

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From this section, I moved on to the third section on the ground floor having a display of jewelry as well as photographs of tribals with jewelry. There were a few jewelry pieces on display and the walls were adorned with illustrations and photos. The display pieces were mostly silver work.

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Jewelry section – Museum Of Legacies
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Kundan, Meena & Jadau work
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Illustrations, Jewelry section

 

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Jewelry on display at Museum of legacies

 

 

 

 

 

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Illustration of a jeweled elephant goad

From the ground floor, I took the staircase to the first floor. Since the ground floor has double height- a mezzanine, technically, it is the second floor.

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Only two galleries are open to the visitors on this floor. The first gallery has two giant Rajasthani puppets.

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The second gallery focuses on Pichwai paintings i.e. Nathdwara style Pichwai as well as its variant, Kota style. I have already provided details about Nathdwara style paintings in my write-up Stories of real artists from Jaipur Kala Mahotsav

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Pichwai is a painting made on a textile & hung behind the idol of Srinath Ji, an incarnation of Lord Krishna. This style of painting is popular in Nathdwara, Mewar (Udaipur)  Rajasthan. Earlier it was used in temples but over a period of time, this started being used as wall adornment in residences. Pichwai paintings are rich and detailed.

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Pichwai painting depicting Srinath Ji

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This is a small gallery and has very few paintings on the wall. With nothing else to see the tour of the Museum of Legacies came to an end.

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As I descended the stairs on way back, I wondered whether it was worth a visit?

Here are my views on the Museum Of legacies. The word Museum of Legacies is quite vague and not cohesive. It doesn’t conjure up any images. Two, the collection on display is neither convincing nor complete as it comprises of random pieces. Ideally, each collection should at least represent a complete geographical area or certain time period. It does neither.

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Display pieces have been sourced from a few individuals and commercial enterprises. Therefore the collection has its limitations. Three, since these collections have been sourced from firms and individuals, they have been allowed to advertise their names discreetly.

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Four, Kishanpole Bazar is off the tourist map. With nothing else to explore around, it is unlikely that many tourists will visit the Museum Of Legacies. The manner in which the heritage look of Kishanpole bazar is being tinkered lately in the name of “smart city” is not encouraging. It has been chosen as an ideal market for this project. The entire market has been dug up in the name of “Jaipur Smart City Project“. It will complete in a few months but the heritage conservationists have raised an alarm as it has altered the original form and look of the market. Many people have questioned the motives of authorities.

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The road level has been raised and cemented in the name of heritage and beautification! The concrete road doesn’t add to the heritage!

State governments receive grants for a specific project from the central government. A few years ago, low-floor buses were given to select cities under JNURM project and now it is the Smart City project. Can a city become smart by undertaking “unwanted” beautification and spoiling its heritage look? Why only one market is being modeled for Jaipur Smart City Project? It is simply an eyewash and wastage of resources. When the authorities fail at basic things like parking facilities, waste and traffic management, wasting money on “unwanted” beautification is nothing less than an offense.

Here are two pictures of Ajmeri Gate, one of the eight old Gates of Jaipur –  Before and after “Jaipur smart city project” beautification drive. Just for your information, Ajmeri Gate leads to the Kishanpol Bazar.

Before

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After

A huge fountain has been added along with a divider spoiling its heritage look.

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A huge fountain has been erected. I’m not sure if this is a beautification. It looks more like an eyesore.

Do read my post on heritage conservation  Our Attitude Towards Heritage Needs A Big Change?

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The authorities need to reconsider what they want to show and depict. The current display collection is not convincing enough to attract visitors and tourists. This new museum in Jaipur doesn’t do justice to the building considering its legacy and how it has been associated with art and craft for centuries. If you are visiting Jaipur and love art and architecture, do explore and let me know your thoughts on Museum Of Legacies. I will recommend a visit to this beautiful Haveli for all its beauty and heritage.

Museum Of Legacies Address: Kishanpole Bazar, Near Ajayab Ghar Ka Rasta, Jaipur.

Museum Of Legacies Timing: 12 PM to 8 PM.

Museum Of Legacies entry fee: Free for the time being (promotional)

 

Museum of legacies jaipur travel guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

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66 thoughts on “Museum Of Legacies: Everything But A Legacy?

  1. I agree with you a city cannot be a smart city by doing some cosmetic changes. There has to be a lot of ground work done plus people must be educated about smart city. Coming back to museum, the post is beautiful and detailed. Many museums in Jaipur, a few that I have seen, are different from their counterparts elsewhere. I guess only a person interested in certain type of objects may be attracted. I had stopped going to these museums for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. If I’m traveling, I won’t visit a museum unless the things on display are a big draw for me because with limited time we have to pick and choose attractions. The buildings and architecture is a different matter. If something doesn’t interest you then there is no point in a visit. Thanks for taking time out to share your views. Appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess it’s difficult to maintain places like this. We really love museums, and have found some great ones in Europe. In India, there are little gems like a private seashell collection in Diu and a museum of plant fossils in Ghughua, Madhya Pradesh. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ankita, it sure is an expensive proposition. We definitely need to learn the art of curating museums from Europe. They are expert in this field. There are very few good museums in India on a comparative scale. Have you ever been to Indian Forest Research Inst. in Dehradun?

      Like

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