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All set for a record in ticket sales

By Our Staff Reporter


CHENNAI, MARCH 26. The Government Museum here is all set to create a record in ticket sales.

As on March 15, it earned Rs. 58 lakhs in 2003-04. "It will certainly cross the Rs. 60-lakh mark," a senior official said.

This will be a six-fold increase from the 2000-01 collection.

"One reason is that each ticket, earlier priced at Rs. 3, now costs Rs. 15," the official said. (The fee is Rs. 10 for children below 12 years and Rs. 5 for bona fide students and teachers in groups). "We are keen that the museum is used as an educational institution."

Though the average number of visitors is about 1,000, it receives 4,000-5,000 on Saturdays and Sundays.

"On festival days such as Kaanum Pongal, the figure is 12,000-14,000."

Another reason is that the museum sports a new look, thanks to the State Government generous support for renovation of some of the galleries. It allocated Rs. 4.4 crores. Of this, a substantial amount was spent on the museum theatre and the Bronze Gallery. Upgrading showcases in the Numismatics Gallery, establishing a gallery on the evolution of industry, rebuilding a portion of the compound wall in keeping with its original character and landscaping were completed.

Another official said there was plenty of work to be done on museum buildings, many of which were between 75 and 100 years old. "The National Art Gallery (NAG) requires Rs. 7 crores."

The State Government has appealed to the Centre to provide funds for renovation.

Meanwhile, the Government has also given the museum a special grant of Rs. 10 lakhs for emergency expenses.

Among the works to be taken up are replacement of fused bulbs and old electrical wiring and conservation of an antique saree collection.

The funds would enable the museum to purchase modern instruments to clean stone and bronze sculptures, the official said.

A portion of the funds would be spent on installing meshes for windows to keep out pigeons and bats. A herbal garden was also on the agenda.

The State Government constituted a three-member panel comprising the Finance and Tamil Development-Culture Secretaries and the Museums Commissioner.

Proposals pertaining to the works would be submitted to the committee.

An electronic surveillance system costing Rs. 88 lakhs for the galleries would be in place next month.

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