As part of its golden jubilee celebrations, Government Museum and Art Gallery – in Sector 10 Chandigarh – plans to organise a plethora of events to attract children and families.

The Museum celebrated its 50th Anniversary on 6 May by organising events which supported open ended exploration, imaginative learning and deep engagement – all designed to make it a memorable immersive learning experience.

These were combined with gallery walks by curators, guides and conservators. There was a special walk by Medhavi Gandhi of the Heritage Lab on “Secrets of the Chandigarh Museum”.

Other fun activities included a potter’s wheel on which children and visitors worked hands-on. A painting competition for children above 7 years where they could explore the theme “My museum turns 50” with unlimited interpretation was also organised. And as expected, they received a great response and a number of people showed up.

The museum owes its existence to the partition of India in August, 1947. Prior to the partition, the collections of art objects, paintings and sculptures were housed in the Central Museum, Lahore, the then capital of Punjab. After partition, the division of collections took place on 10 April, 1948. Sixty per cent of objects were retained by Pakistan and forty per cent collection fell in the share of India.

The museum was designed by Le Corbusier along with his associate architects namely Manmohan Nath Sharma, Pierre Jeanneret and Shiv Dutt Sharma. “The collections received in April, 1949 from Pakistan were first housed in Amritsar, then Shimla, Patiala and were finally shifted to Chandigarh upon the inauguration of the museum in 1968. Over a period of time, Dr MS Randhawa added Pahari miniature paintings, modern and Indian contemporary art to the collection,” informed Megha Kulkarni, Curatorial Assistant.

“The museum today houses over 30,000 collectables which have been bought by and donated to the museum over the years. The three major collections in the museum are the Gandhara Sculptures, Pahari Miniature Paintings and the Contemporary Indian Art Collection.

The Gandhara Sculptures are the 642 sculptures from Lahore. Pahari Miniature Paintings are world famous paintings that are often loaned from the museum to be displayed in art exhibitions around the world. Along with the Contemporary Indian Art collection the museum also includes Rajasthani Miniature Paintings, South Indian Bronze Sculptures, Maharashtrian Sculptures and pottery from other Asian countries,” Kulkarni said.

Talking about the number of visitors Kulkarni said, “The response is not as good as at national museums. But there has been a gradual increase. Two years back we entertained around 45,000 visitors per year. However, now, the number has increased to over 60,000.”