Tuesday, March 28

West Bengal: Locked-down Victoria Memorial to launch virtual tour next week

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Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH), in association with Google Art & Culture, will throw open a virtual tour of the garden on April 18, a month after the museum and its sprawling grounds were hurriedly shut down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Indian Museum, which had also shut the same day, will do a test run of online events and activities from April 14 to re-engage with the audience.

VMH that is currently showcasing ‘Victoria’s Treasures From The Vault’ with images and descriptions of curated objects on Facebook, along with links to old lectures on YouTube, is planning to open the 64-acre garden to netizens on the occasion of World Heritage Day. A team from Google Art & Culture had already taken 360° video of the garden from 20 locations on the ground. The narration had been recorded in English and Bengali and the post-production work is almost over.

“The virtual tour of the grounds will allow visitors to view various statues, including Lord Curzon’s near the south gate, King Endward VII on a horse atop an arch a little ahead and Queen Victoria on the throne. It will also offer a view of the six water bodies, two fountains and the marble edifice as viewed from the garden,” said VMH curator Jayanta Sengupta.

He had initially planned to launch virtual tours of the galleries and the garden simultaneously, but with Covid-19 halting all activity, just the garden tour is being inaugurated. “We were to start the videography on the museum’s collection when coronavirus struck. The 150 objects that will be showcased have been shortlisted and the text describing them is ready,” he pointed out.

At the Indian Museum, too, officials are attempting to curate a series of lectures and events on social media. “We are organizing three sessions in a week and have requested academics, like Vasant Shinde, Parul Pandeya Dhar, K P Rao, Rajat Sanyal and Susmita Basu Majumdar, to speak on their areas of expertise in short videos. We also asked Dona Ganguly, Tanusree Sankar, Tejendra Majumdar and others to send videos of short performances,” said Indian Museum director in charge Arijit Dutta Choudhury.


Source: Times of India

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