Follow Us:

Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya: ‘Thought through how to make galleries consistent without making controversial’

“One of the suggestions from PM Narendra Modi was to make the museum engaging for the younger generation and highlight how different Prime Ministers have risen despite being from humble and regular backgrounds so it can become an inspiration for the younger generation,” said Saurav Bhaik, Tagbin CEO and design and technology consultant of the Sangrahalaya.

Sharbani Banerjee | New Delhi |

The recently inaugurated Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya, which has been built with an aim to show the work and development of the Constitution of India and all the Prime Ministers, has seen 80,000 visitors in past four months.

The museum has been able to capture everyone’s attention due to its perfect amalgamation of history and art, with immersive digital technology bringing the words and lives of the Prime Ministers alive. On 14 April 2022, the Prime Minister- Narendra Modi unveiled the museum for the masses to witness a new era of historical spectacle.

While the world appreciates the design of the museum, here is all you need to know about the person behind the design of the museum. Mr. Saurav Bhaik, Tagbin’s CEO and Design & Technology Consultant of this Sangrahalaya in an interview spills the beans on all about challenges, role of technology etc while designing the museum.

Can you share with us what went into conceptualising the state-of-the-art display at the museum?

The first action we took was to study and understand the visitor profile. We figured what can be the right medium through which we can disseminate the information to the visitor in the most interesting manner. We discovered that people have a very little attention span. They refrain from reading larger texts. The visitor, which is mostly the youth, gets interested in consuming content through the playful methods, something that is more interactive and engaging. This is why we took the approach of making the museum interactive and engaging for the visitors. We started with content bucketing which went to various archives for sourcing and collecting the relevant content. We then worked on the visitor flow and planned out the circulation of the visitor. To break the display monotony, we brought in the element of surprise where each gallery was designed differently to give a unique look of its own.

Were you given briefs and ideas? What was the initial brainstorming like?

The narrative of the museum went through multiple round of discussions to decide upon various points like that what is it that we’re trying to showcase, how the galleries of Prime Ministers was to be structured, what should be the space allocated for each Prime Minister, the key events involved in each Prime Minister tenure and the overall message that we wanted to convey to the visitor through the museum. We also thought through on how we could make the Prime Minister galleries consistent without making it controversial.

What is special about this museum that is not seen in any other?

The museum is visitor focused, engaging and interactive. Here, the visitors become a part of the museum and participate. The museum displays authentic content and no recreation has been done. The museum is a perfect amalgamation of history, rich content, art and technology. It brings a complete package of a never-seen-before visitor experience. This is a museum that’s beyond borders and is welcoming to everyone. We have developed the most advanced audio guide system that assists as a tour guide through the visitor’s journey. It is currently in two languages and will expand to 21 Indian languages and 6 International languages in the future.

Inside PM Museum
Inside PM Museum

What role can technology play, and what do you predict about museums’ future in India?

Interactive technologies can really make these places interesting. By making them digital, it opens up the whole new scenario of updating the content from time to time. Generally, if the museum is designed in the traditional way with static displays and graphical content, it is likely to go outdated after some time. While in digital museums, we can keep it updated and evolving. Also, with new-aged technologies virtual museums are making space in the museum industry.

What were some of the biggest challenges you and your team faced while working for the Pradhan Mantri Sangrahalaya?

One of the challenges was the space break up among different prime ministers. Since we were not involved at the stage of building planning, we were given a pre-designed building. We had to retrofit the narrative and content in a chronological manner. Also, some of the tech installations were happening for the first time.

When did you begin work on the museum, and what aspects were particularly important to you?

We got the project in March 2020 for design, technology, and project management. The first six months were non operational due to the covid wave. Some aspects while working like the overall vision and mission of the museum, the space planning and the initial direction of how each gallery was to be approached were most important as that set the foundation and fundamental principle on which we built the museum.

Building Exterior of PM Museum
Building Exterior of PM Museum

How can technological advancements like levitation, robotics, holograms, virtual reality, augmented reality, multi-touch, multimedia, interactive kiosk, etc., give visitors an immersive experience?

We have used technologies like levitation and kinetic to create art installations which give a wow feeling to the visitor at the entrance as they begin. Interactive display technologies like the multi-touch, interactive kiosks, gesture enabled displays are installed to disseminate information in the most interesting ways.

The new-aged technologies like the AR, VR and robotics are used to enhance human interactivity and engagement. Through these tech enabled experiential exhibits, visitors become a part of the museum and learn by doing. This is a great medium to educate the youth, where they are able to absorb and retain the content in interesting ways.

Did you get a chance to meet the PM for the museum and what advice did he give you?

Yes, Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya was a project closely monitored by the Prime Minister. It was a vision seen by him. One of the greatest pieces of advice he gave us was to strike a balance in content and look at the life and works of all the Prime Ministers through their achievements and the impacts that their contributions made to the nation and not merely by their tenures of office. One of his suggestions was to make it engaging for the younger generation and highlight how different Prime Ministers have risen despite being from humble and regular backgrounds so it can become an inspiration for the younger generation. To attain this, we refined the content and re-layout our spaces to incorporate all significant events and achievements of each Prime Minister. The museum now consists of galleries based on the size of their leadership and not by the size of their tenures.

Tagbin's Team with PM Modi
Tagbin’s Team with PM Modi

The museum is the perfect amalgamation of history, art, and technology- would you like to tell us how the content is planned and displayed and how was this conceptualised?

We wanted to make it relevant for everyone – there can be a visitor at the age of 10 who would be more interested in gaming and learning while another could be one seriously studying for UPSC. We wanted to make content interesting for everybody. We managed to have a fine balance of audiovisual content, personal objects, and interactive content. In the reception – which is the first impression of any visitor – we intended to make something out of the box by combining art and technology in it. In the prime minister galleries, where we have serious content, we have kept the use of interactivity technologies to a minimum.

How big is the museum and what was the budget?

The total area of the museum is around 1 Lakh sq. ft. The overall cost of the Museum Building Complex including the display and technological interfaces and digitization of the collection is about Rs.306 Crores.

In the age when the significance of museums are losing its charm, how do you think the new digital India is going to revive that?

We believe the museums are the best and the only places where one can preserve art, heritage, culture, and history together for future generations and hold the power to disseminate the information to the masses in the most unique ways.

Earlier museums had ordinary and traditional mediums of displays with non-interactive and simple representations of the content.

With tech installations making the content interesting and experiential, digital India will soon see a shift in the museum industry and the museum visitors coming to explore more and more.

What were the biggest challenges that you faced?

The biggest challenge was space breakup among different Prime Ministers. Since we were not involved at the stage of building planning, we were given a pre designed building. We had to retrofit the narrative and content in a chronological manner.

Is there room for any design modifications in the future ?

Yes the design and content of the digital and interactive exhibits can be updated from time to time.