Museum Collections and the Student Community: Engaging with Undergraduate Students in the RBF Sanganakallu Archaeological Museum, Ballari, Karnataka, India

Independent Scholar, India

This paper aims to explore the engagement options created for undergraduate students at the Robert Bruce Foote (RBF) Sanganakallu Archaeological Museum in Ballari, Karnataka, southern India. This museum, established in February 2020, very soon closed its doors to visitors on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic presented this newly established museum with a lack of visitors, a shortage of human resources, mounting archaeological collections and many curious students on campus. This paper outlines the various programmes introduced by the museum to engage with our largest visitor group, undergraduate students from local colleges, focusing on the internship programme offered as a part of the Collections Documentation Project. This internship programme for undergraduate students was targeted at introducing their region’s prehistoric heritage, highlighting the role of museums in documenting and maintaining collections, and underscoring the importance of museums as an information centre. The programme ensured the active participation of students in the documentation process, along with visits to sites, and participation in museum activities. Through subject-specific tour options, projects and internship programmes executed between 2020 and 2022, the museum had been able to increase its recognizability amongst this visitor group and position the RBF Sanganakallu Archaeological Museum as an information centre for regional audiences.