Reasons To Visit Egmore Museum With Your Family
A museum can feel like an oasis for curious children and adults. With all the ways we get caught up in our busy lives, museums provide us with knowledge about our past and our present.
By Jasmine Kaur
Museums can capture so much art, history and culture, in the space of just a few buildings, that it’s hard to not fall in love with them, even if just a little. I know that I have adored the time I have spent at museums since I was a child. They answered some of the many questions I had, and sparked many new ones. They helped me see how vast and old this world is, spurred my long-lasting fascination with the early humans and the stars above us. Children are thirsty for knowledge and museums can provide ample 'water'.
So, do take a step out of your lives to visit a museum when you can. If you are in Chennai, you could visit the government museum, popularly known as ‘The Egmore Museum’. It is the second oldest Indian museum. If you are still not convinced, here’s our account of the Egmore museum. Further, we have included multiple pictures of the govt museum, the dinosaurs and the children's museum. We also mention important logistical details such as the timings and the entry fees to the Egmore museum.
As soon as we entered the museum premises, we saw a small stall organised by the Tamil Nadu Government. The brightly-coloured wooden toys and other handicraft pieces took us back to our childhoods. We recalled the days before short-lived plastic toys and metal screen devices that became our primary mode of entertainment.
After some cheerful nostalgia, we walked ahead to find the first of the six galleries. This walk lasted longer than we thought it would, and after many hesitant steps and wrong turns we finally reached our destination. It was right next to some cannonball trees.
Archaeology refers to studying the human culture in history through the materials they have left behind, e.g. statues, buildings, idols, etc. So of course, this is the gallery with the oldest exhibits on display at the museum, with some even dating back to the 9th century.
We entered the gallery full of expectations and with a hope to learn from these statues of long ago. So, of course we were excited to find out that there were audio tours of the gallery available through an app called Storytrails. However, we found that the app repeated a lot of information about multiple statues and there wasn’t as much unique information about them. We decided to continue without it.
Looking at the sculptures, I felt very connected to the past and was in awe, as I stood in front of something human-made from over a millennium ago. In this gallery some of the exhibits even formed a part of the museum, with staircases adorned with age-old stone carvings, and statues affixed to the gallery building.
Though I was disappointed to see a lack of detailed descriptions of the sculptures, or even names in some cases, because I would have liked to learn more about them. Therefore, we relied on our own ingenuity and expertise to learn what we could from the exhibits as we went along. We noticed that many of these sculptures are categorised based on the religion they represent, rather than the time at which they were constructed.
Thankfully, when we checked the museum's official website, I found the names and histories of many of the exhibits on display. It felt satisfying to finally have some way of learning more about what we saw at the museum. So, when you do decide to visit, it might come in handy to have the website open on your phone, to learn more about exhibits that excite you and your child!
After we departed from the valley of sculptures, we emerged into the belly of a whale. My companion commented that despite knowing that the whales are the largest animals, the feeling of seeing one up close (or its skeleton in our case), is quite breathtaking. I later learned that this was a sixty feet long Baleen whale, which washed up on the Mangalore shore in the late nineteenth century. Knowing this enriched my experience, because this was no longer just a whale skeleton, but the skeleton of the one that washed up on Mangalore shores.
Despite many attempts we were not able to take a picture of the whale skeleton that did justice to how in awe of it we felt. It demands to be seen in person. This and other skeletons, including that of an eleven feet tall elephant pictured above, were a welcome reminder of how truly remarkable the planet we live on is. And that we share this home with awe-inspiring creatures.
Geology is about studying the earth, it's history, what's it made of and the organisms which have lived on it. This gallery mainly relies on exhibits in the form of models, posters and fossils. And these exhibits cover topics such as the big bang, minerals, rocks, pollution and tsunamis. Although the gallery does not have any dinosaur bones on display, it does have replicas of a Tyrannosaurus rex and a pterodactyl that are sure to capture the imaginations of young children!
The museum grounds
The museum grounds, though beautiful, are huge and have a lack of signs or maps. This makes them easy to get lost in, which we did. So, do be careful and take help from the people around you.
We did find our way to the beautiful bronze gallery, which looked closer to a gold shop than to a museum exhibit due to its dazzling presentation. We enjoyed the metal work and learning what it had to say about the Indian culture through the ages, whether it was about the comfort with which the human bodies were depicted, or the kind of traditions held in high esteem.
The children’s museum is bright and lively. It even has some more dinosaurs at its entrance! Its exhibits are mostly in the form of dioramas and miniatures, which present:
- the variety in the attire and culture of different states in India, along with the attire of other countries
- the various ancient civilisations
- the different forms of transport, including a hot air balloon
- the animals from 120 million years ago
- the anatomies of animals
- models of modern machines
- and more!
We ended our museum tour with the art gallery. While it was well set-up with good lighting, it was somewhat underwhelming. There didn’t seem to be a lot of connect between the pieces or much context given for the works on display. Nonetheless, the collection of Ravi Varma paintings is of a substantial size and a significant attraction for his admirers.
All in all a wonderful trip!
Egmore Museum Timings
The Egmore museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day except on Fridays, Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanthi.
Egmore Museum Entry Fee
The entrance fee of the government Egmore museum is ₹ 15 for Indian adults and ₹ 10 for children.
About the author:
Written by Jasmine Kaur on 30 April 2019.
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