Experts call for setting up more museums
23 May, 2006
KARACHI : Experts at a seminar on Thursday called for establishing separate departments of archaeology in Sindh and Balochistan, saying these two provinces were the hub of great civilizations of the world.
They also suggested introducing the subject of national heritage, museums and tourism in the curriculums besides setting up departments of archaeology at all the universities of the country.
The experts were speaking at a seminar on “Promoting Museum Culture” organized by Pakistan Press Foundation in connection with International Museum Day.
Dr Javed Hussain, chairman, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Business Administration, and former chairman of General History, Karachi University, in his speech said that only Punjab and the NWFP had departments of archaeology at provincial level while except for the Peshawar University and Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, no other university in Pakistan had any department of archaeology.
Dr Hussain also pointed out lack of heritage managers and expert archaeologists in the country. He emphasized the need to educate people on management of heritage and tourism, saying the tourism in a direct and indirect way stimulated the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage.He said setting up more and more museums and developing further the existing one was a must as the museums were the effective and practical means of disseminating knowledge to the people especially the students on the cultural and natural heritage.
Dr Hussain agreed to a point raised by a participant that there should be a city museum established by the city government depicting the history of Karachi. In developed countries, there existed city museums but no such museum had ever been set up in Pakistan, he added.
He said that instead of seeking grants and funds from other countries for preserving our own cultural heritage, the nation should make their own contribution towards it.
Sarwat Baig, curator of the National Museum, said schoolchildren had been showing great interest in museums, which was evident from the fact that more than 10,000 schoolchildren visited the National Museum in 2005.”The National Museum of Karachi is the biggest one in the country having 11 galleries with collections depicting the national heritage from Gandhara and Indus civilizations todate.”
Established in 1951 at Frere Hall and shifted to the present premises in 1970 with only four galleries at that time, the National Museum has a collection of 58,000 old coins some dating from 74 Al-Hijra, over 100, 000 manuscripts, hundreds of sculptures etc.
”We hold over a dozen exhibitions yearly on national days and other occasions since 1975 besides quiz and other programmes,” Sarwat Baig said adding that an auditorium with 250 seating capacity had also been built last year.
He deplored that the media did not give proper coverage to such programmes that could create awareness in the people about museums and cultural heritage.
Javed Ahmed Khan, assistant director, Department of Tourism & Culture, Sindh, said his department had planned to restore the museum at Pacca Qila (Fort) in Hyderabad burnt by miscreants in the ‘90s.
Currently, the provincial department maintains five museums that include one each at Moenjo Daro and Bhambhore and the Flag Staff House in Karachi.
In reply to a question, he said the antiques found at archaeological sites in Sindh were sometimes given as a 'loan' to other institutions of the country for study.
Samina Ishaque, Director, PPF, also spoke.