Pune: Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum’s ‘Green, Clean & Smart Museum’ Initiative To Get Rs 40 Lakh Donation From Germany

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Mumbai / Pune, 1st June 2021: The “Green, Clean & Smart Museum” initiative of the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Pune, has been duly approved by the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, Germany, and the German Consulate General, Mumbai.

The “Green, Clean & Smart Museum” project proposal, which was submitted under the “Cultural Preservation Programme” run by the Federal Foreign Office in Germany, aims at achieving different goals to modernize the Museum with technological advancement essential for the changing times. The Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum located off Bajirao Road in Shukrawar Peth houses an impressive collection of more than 23,000 priceless artifacts recalling the historic Indian culture and traditions. Its treasures are valuable to historians and art lovers alike.

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The German Consulate Mumbai considers the museum to be one of Maharashtra’s hidden jewels that has managed to preserve the cultural heritage of Indian craftsmanship via its splendid collection of daily-life artifacts through centuries. This, along with its rich folk art, has repeatedly drawn interest also by the many visitors from Maharashtra’s partners and sister cities in Germany.

An agreement has been signed between the German Consulate Mumbai and Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Pune, represented by Consul General Dr Juergen Morhard and Sudhanva Ranade, Director of Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, respectively. The financial assistance in the form of a donation of up to Rupees 40 Lakhs (as per agreed upon terms and conditions) will be provided to the museum by the German Consulate Mumbai in stages, depending on the progress of the project.

As per the stipulated guidelines, the project will commence in June 2021 and will have to be completed by December 2021. The museum, which has already achieved its ‘Green mission’ with the installation of the rooftop grid-tie solar system, under the multi-dimensional “Green, Clean & Smart Museum” initiative aims to modernize display cases, install high-tech cleaning devices necessary for the museum’s better upkeep and maintenance, upgrade the museum’s overall display, and re-think visitor services by leveraging digital technology i.e. designing and developing a new smart website, and also introducing a mobile application that will broaden art horizons, and make for a unique cultural visitor experience with interactive content and a 3 D virtual tour.

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Consul General Dr Juergen Morhard, who has visited the Museum on several occasions said, “This dynamic step will assist the transformation of the Museum to a higher level of sustainability. Moreover, the new cooperation will not only further foster the long-time relationship of the German Consulate Mumbai with the museum but also strengthen Indo-German cooperation and cultural ties between Germany and India. I sincerely wish that the Museum’s long-term vision of establishing a modern “Museum City” complex at Bavdhan in Pune becomes a reality sooner than expected.”

Director Sudhanva Ranade emphasizing the German connection of the museum, said, “The relationship of Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum with Germany goes back to the year 1967. Late Dr DG Kelkar, the founder of this glorious Museum in Pune city, was awarded the prestigious “Excellence Award” by the German Government for his noble contribution to the field of Museums and Museology in India. The then German Government specially invited Late Dr Kelkar along with the former Director of the Museum, Late Dr HG Ranade, to experience a number of museums of Germany.”

He further added that the accomplishment of the upcoming “Green, Clean & Smart Museum” project would not only help in modernizing the Museum but also strengthen the longstanding relationship of the Museum with Germany and German Museums to a great extent. In 2007-2008, the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, also extended substantial funding for the accomplishment of the project “Bringing India’s Heritage to the World”, under which the Museum was able to install high-tech equipment for its conservation studio, build twenty new display showcases with LED lighting systems, and implement knowledge-exchange activities through which representatives of Übersee (Overseas) Museum in Bremen, Germany and Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Pune could visit each other and exchange knowledge, ideas and experiences.

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Interestingly, Bremen and Pune have been sister cities since 1998. Besides Bremen’s Übersee Museum, the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with two leading museums of Hamburg, Germany, namely Museum fürKunst und Gewerbe (Museum for Arts and Crafts), and Hamburger Kunsthalle (Museum for Applied Arts). Moreover, three museums from the State of Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany namely Badisches Museum in Karlsruhe, the Linden Museum in Stuttgart and Kurfalzisches Museum in Heidelberg have shown keen interest to establish a cooperative association with Pune’s Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum.

“The wonderful association with Germany continues till date,” adds Ranade.

“We were honoured to have Mr Walter J Lindner, Ambassador of Germany to India, visit us in August 2019, and of course Consul General Dr Morhard and Deputy Consul General Ms Marja-Sirkka Einig continue to be our special guests.”

Since 1981, the Federal Republic of Germany has supported the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide via the Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office. Around 80 million Euros were provided from 1981 to 2018 to fund more than 2860 projects in 144 countries. The Cultural Preservation Programme fosters knowledge transfer and cultural dialogue among partners. Protecting and maintaining cultural diversity is one of the priorities of the Federal Foreign Office’s cultural work abroad.

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