PESHAWAR, Feb 19: The newly-appointed curator of Peshawar Museum has high hopes that renovation of the British-era building having world?s largest collection of Gandhara civilisation can bring back visitors to this museum.
Peshawar was once main attraction for tourist but now they are reluctant to visit the historical city due to security fears.
?We need to promote domestic tourism now,? proposes Prof Nidaullah Sehrai, a professor of archaeology department of the University of Peshawar, who has recently taken charge as curator of Peshawar Museum. ?The entire look of the museum needs to be changed,? Prof Sehrai says.
The Peshawar Museum has about 300 objects including rare collection of Gandhara civilisation with 74 pieces depicting the life history of Buddha, the founder of Budhism.
?The Gandhara civilisation?s archaeological remains depict Pakhtuns as tolerant people as these artifacts have survived for thousands of years,? says Prof Sehrai, adding the extremists, who are the product of Afghan war, pose a threat to the centuries old heritage. Awareness is needed to stop this trend, he says.
Pointing out some of the problems at the museum, Prof Sehrai said that wooden panels along the walls were being eaten up by termite. Conservation of this hundred year old historic building is badly needed as water seepage at some points is a problem. The paint, the wooden cases and lighting system needs to be replaced. Metal showcases and fibre-optic spotlights are needed as these are safer.
?This is going to be expensive but we need to do it to protect the priceless heritage,? he says.
Acknowledging that funding for getting the latest equipment to renovate the museum was a challenge, he asserted that it was vital to revive this historical place. ?The staff is also short and technical hands like electricians, carpenters, etc are needed,? he said.
The main galleries of the museum are based in the Victoria Memorial Hall which in fact used to be a ballroom during the British rule. ?Space is also a big problem as we will like to expand the facility to adjust more showcases and panels to improve the display,? Prof Sehrai said.
The new curator is of the view that not only the look but the purpose for which the building is used should be renewed. ?Museums are nowadays being turned into educational institutions. We will like to hold seminars and exhibitions here.?More publications are needed to promote the Peshawar Museum. The new curator also plans to start ?object of the month? activity at the museum. Introduction of modern techniques including use of audiovisual aids to inform the visitors in Pashto, Urdu and English languages, are also being planned.
Prof Sehrai plans to keep the museum open on Sundays to encourage the visitors. ?We want to turn this museum into a centre of activities so that the locals could come to this place to know about their history,? he says