Reimagining and mapping museums for India’s youth and other history buffs in this digital forum. This non-profit organization amongst other programmes has embarked on a Museums Mapping Project with an ambition to map museums from all over the country.
BetterIndia reported that Sahapedia, a non-profit organization’s objective is to creatively engage with culture and history using digital media for more extensive public consumption, play a critical role. It is an open online-multimedia knowledge resource based on curated and crowd-sourced content, Sahapedia has developed over 1000 knowledge elements (articles, videos, interviews, photo essays, digitized materials and bibliographies among others). It also organizes activities such as heritage walks and talks series (baithaks) for broader engagement. They plan on adding not just the famous museums but also museums from tier-2 and tier-3 cities of India.
The organization has worked with 500 researchers, authors, and practitioners collaborated with over 30 organizations in the culture sector, and partnering with government bodies like the Archaeological Survey of India has grown into a critical repository of various cultures and their history. In the project, cultural practitioners with over 30 years of experience working at Sahapedia, have largely driven the documentation process of nearly 220 museums over 20 cities on their website.
Backed by a team consisting of design, editorial and technology professionals and interns from prestigious institutions like the National Institute of Design, alongside scholars, who conduct all the necessary research, this project endeavours to map the wealth of museums in India, irrespective of their size and category. “We provide access to our dashboard to the interns who file their entries that go through the editorial regime internally for quality control before we publish them on the website. We are also now aiming towards offering the museums direct access to the dashboard to feed in the information,” says Vaibhav Chauhan, the Executive Secretary of Sahapedia, who also heads the Museum Mapping Project (MMP), describing the process behind the mapping project to BetterIndia.
The organization is backed by the CSR (corporate social responsibility) arms of various major firms—TCS Foundation, Infosys Foundation and state-backed ONGC. These firms are Sahapedia’s significant funders. “We have also received appreciation from the government and the Museums of India. NITI Aayog or the National Institution for Transforming India, for instance, have also extended their support to us,” says Chauhan.
“Since technology plays an important role in their lives, it not only gives endless possibilities for engagement but also there is a constant need to update the form of outreach to keep the interest alive,” adds Chauhan. There are also a few offline initiatives with walking tours in museums for different user-groups including the differently-abled and other disadvantaged groups.
The aim of MMP is to cover approximately 500 museums next year. The non-profit is looking to make the MMP platform transactional in nature in the future, offering services like docent booking, ticket bookings, and e-museum shop through the portal.