Artifacts at Goa State Museum in danger of being ruined forever


The Goa State Museum located at the old Adil Shah Palace in Panjim houses around 10,000 artifacts from Goan history. Each item probably has a story behind it and is a major part of our state culture. But with the rains and the salinity in the air during the rest of the year, all these look to be in danger of being lost for good.

10,000 artifacts in the Goa State Museum’s possession

It would spell certain disaster for Goan history and culture if all the artifacts are destroyed. All of it is priceless and some items date back to the pre-Portuguese era. Artifacts on display include stone sculptures, wooden objects, carvings, bronzes, paintings, manuscripts, rare coins, and anthropological objects. All provide information about the ancient historical and cultural traditions of Goa. There are also ancient texts on display that are in equal peril with all the dampness, humidity and salinity.

Earlier, a new museum was to be put up in place of the old deteriorated museum complex at Patto. But now Minister for Museums, Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar has told  ‘The Navhind Times’ that this will not happen. Instead, they will construct a brand new museum elsewhere.

“We have identified a land around Panaji for constructing new museum building and already moved the related file for approval,” he added, pointing out, “However, once this land is acquired, it would take at least two years for the new museum building to get ready.”

Even the museum premises at Adil Shah Palace are facing trouble

As of now, the ground floor of the Adil Shah Palace has been turned into a makeshift mini-museum. Not all the artifacts can be displayed as even these premises are getting damaged. Museum director Radha Bhave told NT that very few of the 10,000-odd artifacts are on display at the four galleries. They come under the categories ‘glimpses of Goan culture’, ‘Goan expression through the ages’, the ‘Portuguese phase’ and ‘Goa’s freedom struggle’.

“We have made this makeshift arrangement, with these artifacts to be placed in the new museum building once it is constructed,” the museum director said. The land for the museum is yet to be sought out and acquired before the new museum can be constructed. She also stated that every few months, the artifacts on display at the four galleries will be replaced by other pieces so that nothing remains packed for too long.

A visit to the makeshift museum at Adil Shah Palace has indeed revealed the damage caused by the rain. Water has entered one of the storage rooms and even the walls have not been spared. With the paint peeling off the walls in some places, the space is starting to look ugly.

No priority seems to be given to these precious artifacts

The museum has some truly priceless artifacts in its possession. Unfortunately, it does not seem like any of the 10,000 artifacts are high on the priority list for saving. All of these items are a big part of Goan history and culture. If even a small part of the collection is damaged or ruined, a large part of our history could be lost forever. And this comes at a time when the government seems to be attempting to salvage Goa’s history.

For more information on the artifacts and exhibits for viewing, check out the Goa State Museum website.

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