S28-2

Archaeological Survey of India’s Museums: Strategies and Challenges in Post Pandemic India

Rahul Bakshi & Aprajita Sharma

Archaeological Survey of India, India

As the global COVID-19 pandemic abates, nations are working hard to recover from financial losses and deficiencies, and provide the bare essentials for their citizens. Under these economic conditions, the cultural sphere has been one of the hardest hit sectors, and India has been no exception. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) hosts more than 50 site museums located across the country. The ASI museums are essentially site museums where the antiquities recovered from a site are housed locally, to experience the objects within their cultural context. Compared to other museums, ASI lacked a proper curatorial schema. So, during the pandemic, and in the absence of public visitors, site museums have come up with a plethora of ways to refurbish, upgrade and modernize, including taking opportunities to take the museums to the global community. This is being achieved by applying new technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and disseminating these through innovative virtual platforms. These new platforms are used to enhance learning, develop virtual games orientated around museums, monuments and collections, tours and documentaries, and the selling of souvenirs through e-commerce. This paper discusses some of the initiatives taken up by the ASI in order to rethink site museums, curation methodologies, innovation through technology and how to generate more capital in a post pandemic India.