The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – New York Chapter (GOPIO-New York) hosted a seminar on Rejuvenating Indian Museums. The speaker at the event was GOPIO Life Member and GOPIO Cultural Council Co-chair Vinod Daniel from Sydney, Australia, an expert who has been working with and on museums around the world over several decades.
The seminar was held on June 21st at the Indian American Kerala Center in Elmont, New York, where Daniel called upon the Government of India and state government to provide more autonomy to Indian museums, a press release from GOPIO, said.
Daniel said that museums across the world have only a small percentage of collections and artifacts and the majority are outside the museums in temples and private collections. He called upon government around the world to establish digital databases, particularly in countries like India, to maintain required checks and prevent valuable antiquities from being smuggled.
“You can protect the museum very well but what do you do with all the collection that is outside. Most objects are not in museums but are in temples and private hands,” said Daniel.
“There has to be checks and balances in place to ensure these artifacts are not stolen and then smuggled out of countries to be sold to unsuspecting buyers and museums,” he said.
“India is at a very exciting phase in its transformation and would be important that the Government prioritize culture especially museums and works at a 10 to 15-year transformation strategy,” Daniel added.
Daniel suggested including new governance arrangements that provides greater autonomy, human resource development and funding for better infrastructure including for storage and displays.
Kerala Center President Thambi Thalappillil and GOPIO-New York President Beena Kothari, initiated the program, and GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham introduced the Daniel, an expert on museums who has held senior management positions with the Australian Museum (Sydney) and the J Paul Getty Trust (Los Angeles), according to a press release from GOPIO.
The press release also said that Daniel has been working on Museum projects in more than 45 countries and provides leadership to several national and international heritage bodies including being Chairman of the Board for AusHeritage and a Board Member of the International Council of Museums.
Daniel is also the CEO of India Vision Institute (www.indiavisioninstitute.org), a charitable trust helping underprivileged communities in India access to eye glasses. He urged non-resident Indians to get involved in the endeavor.