An old British order is changing at the city. From Friday, the 205-year-old Indian Museum will stay open longer, in keeping with changing times.
Since the museum was thrown open in 1814, it stayed open till 4.30pm during winters and 5pm during summers. Now, the seasonal timing has been done away with, and the premises will remain open for longer. Visitors will be allowed to stay on till 6.30pm on weekdays and 8pm on weekends.
The authorities felt that in keeping with changing times, people are keeping outdoors for longer hours, and so it was wrong to keep the popular destination out of bounds after 5pm.
There’s another change: entry tickets will cost Rs 30 more for adult Indians from Friday. The price has been yanked up to Rs 50 per ticket, up from Rs 20. There is no change in ticket prices of students and young visitors till the age of 18, however.
“Even office timings have changed today,” said museum director Rajesh Purohit. “The earlier 10am to 5pm timings have ceased for most people, even in the government sector. So, why should we be an exception? Even educational institutions have longer timings these days and it is possible that young scholars might want to spend an evening out at the museum. We should make that possible.”
With this aim in mind, the museum will keep all galleries and facilities open till 8pm during the weekends. “We wish to turn this place into a popular weekend destination. People are relaxed over the weekend and they like to come in late. We should welcome them. It is unfortunate that though the official closing time was 5pm, our employees liked to wind up by 4.30pm. That is unacceptable,” Purohit added.
Explaining the hike in entry ticket price, Purohit said the culture ministry, which governs it, had asked the museum to generate at least 30% of the revenue it gets as funds from the ministry, hence the revision. Taking smartphones equipped with cameras will entail a higher price because one will have to cough up Rs 50 separately for that. Digital or other cameras will cost Rs 100, video cameras will cost Rs 2,000 and cameras with tripods will cost photographers Rs 5,000. These were not chargeable till date.
The ministry had asked the museum to extend its timings to be in tune with other museums of the country. In the past, the ministry had asked Victoria Memorial, another heritage structure under its purview, to extend timings. This was done about six months ago after the CRPF started providing security. As plans stand, the CRPF will also provide security to the Indian Museum.
Source: Times of India