Bargarh Museum awaits a saviour

Some precious artefacts, once the pride of Bargarh Museum, have either been stolen or are missing and little effort has been made by the district administration to renovate the museum and restore its glory.

Set up in 1994 at the initiative of the then district collector Anu Garg and some Good Samaritans, the museum now looks for a saviour.

The museum was set up in a hall provided by the Regulated Cooperative Marketing Society (RCMS) along the College Road here.

Architect Sandeep Mathur extended his services free and people worked against time to complete it. The entire exercise was aimed at preserving and conserving the rich cultural tradition of the district.

Prominent among the donors was Sambalpuri Bastralya which contributed weaving materials, motifs and traditional designs made of vegetable dyes. Two artefacts that attracted crowds to the museum were a wooden bicycle used by a tribal family of Rajborasambar princely estate and a ‘Kansardi’, a woodcraft of Ghess Zamindar’s wife. Soon the museum had eight stone sculptures, a sword used by martyrs of Ghess Zamindar family, traditional tribal ornaments and jewellery, terracotta items, wooden toys which continue to be known as Bargarh toys, handloom instruments, rare palm leaf manuscripts and musical instruments like dhunkel.

However, as there was no designated staff to manage and look after the museum, it was decided that a staffer from District Library would open it every Friday, the weekly market day. And the museum was also drawing crowds till official apathy took a toll on it three years back and is yet to recover.

The priceless artefacts were shifted from the museum and dumped in Gandhi Bhawan. It is from this place that they were lost as the building remains unguarded. Though the district administration moved the State Government seeking permanent staff to help reopen the museum nothing has been done as yet. By the time the Government wakes up from its slumber, the artefacts would have been lost forever and so also a slice of district’s rich cultural heritage.

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