Express news service
NEW DELHI: Unbalanced relative humidity (RH) and temperature caused fungi to grow on a collection of paintings and ruined some treasured artifacts at the National Museum, officials said.
Another reason, they cited, for the poor state of affairs is the lack of qualified personnel required for regular maintenance and preservation of the artefacts.
Created in 1949, the National Museum houses nearly two lakhs of antiques and objects of historical value such as sculptures, jewelry, manuscripts including more than 16,000 paintings on paper and textiles. Only 7,000 objects are on display, the rest being kept in reserve.
The museum is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Culture. An official recently wrote to the Culture Ministry secretary’s office and the minister’s office, saying that if the issue is not resolved, it could lead to the erasure of many works of art.
âYou will be surprised to find that only certain paintings presently exhibit fungus growth; if the inspection is not carried out, several works of art may be damaged. The conservation lab has no curator and almost all positions have been cut. In these circumstances, how will the national heritage be treated and secured? More or less, all of the artwork in the painting department has fungus. The condition of the other galleries is also the same, âreads the email written in Hindi.
Asked for his response, Partha Sarthi Sen Sharma, director general (CEO) of the museum, said: âI have just received the accusation and no specific complaint has been brought to my attention. Every employee has a grievance that they can address through an appropriate channel, just like in any organization. “
Disgruntled museum staff suggested that an investigative committee be formed to assess the loss and take legal action against those responsible for the negligence. âThe centralized air conditioning system is not up to the task; Relative humidity and temperature are not properly controlled. Despite regular repairs to the ceiling, infiltration is frequent. A few rare archaeological objects related to the Rakhigarhi and Harappan civilization have turned powdery, âsaid a staff member.