A morning walkers’ association at the Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) on Wednesday donated a golf cart, worth Rs 8 lakh, to ferry people with mobility issues from the gate to the museum and back, marking the first instance of citizens’ participation in funding an improvement in public infrastructure at a city museum. This is the third golf cart at VMH; the other two were purchased over 12 years ago.
In December, a wheelchair pathway from the south gate to the museum was inaugurated.
‘Friends of Victoria Memorial’, an association of morning walkers — many of whom are businessmen and professionals like lawyers and chartered accountants — have been raising various demands with VMH authorities over the years. During the change of guard at the association when Shiv Kumar Agarwala took over from Hari Prasad Budhia, VMH curator Jayanta Sengupta was invited to a discussion. The curator, while addressing the morning walkers, had remarked: “A friend in need is a friend in deed.”
“Abroad, museums make such investments from endowments. But in India, people donate to temples, churches and mosques but not to public institutions like museums,” said Sengupta.
“Over the years, we have been thinking about how to contribute meaningfully to the place where we get refreshed and rejuvenated every morning. So when the cart was suggested, we lapped up the proposal,” said Agarwala.
Apart from ferrying elderly visitors and people with disabilities, the cart is also used by CISF to patrol the gardens during the closing time every evening.