AIIS received a grant to hold a three-day Museum and Heritage Conservation Summit which will bring together museum professionals in India including curators, administrators and conservationists, as well as some alumni of the Art Conservationist Fellowships, to engage with each other and American counterparts on important aspects of running museums and other heritage institutions in the twenty-first century, and to share best practices and develop creative, innovative, and sustainable programs.
The summit will result in a draft white paper outlining pressing issues for India’s museums and suggesting steps to address them, to be presented to India’s Ministry of Culture. The outcomes of these activities will advance capabilities to deploy India’s artistic heritage to enrich the lives of local, national and global audiences and enable India to take its rightful place as a world leader in the preservation and presentation of artistic and cultural heritage in the new millennium. The museum summit plan is intended to be an innovative program for galvanizing India’s diverse museum sector to articulate new, ambitious, aspirational goals for India’s museums – to move them decisively beyond the role of caretakers of India’s artistic heritage with the aim of helping to chart a path towards becoming cutting-edge leaders, using twenty-first century technologies (from smart phones to state of the art gallery lighting) in the deployment of cultural heritage in its broadest sense for diverse audiences (whether local or international; school children, families or the disabled).
The summit and resulting white paper are also aimed to inspire and involve the Ministry of Culture to take a proactive role in harnessing India’s unmatched artistic resources as a key national resource for the benefit of the nation, its people and the world. In order to support, sustain and advance achievements of the summit, AIIS will advocate for a ‘museum task force’ to be formed as a bi-national committee of cooperation between US and Indian museums to monitor progress, assess needs, and assist in finding support for new undertakings. In consultation with the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the Embassy, AIIS will develop means for communicating the aims, scope and content of the summit with the larger community of museums and heritage organizations in India, with the Indian art world in India more broadly, and with the international museum community.