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Is old still gold, or just going cold?

Heritage offers one an experience like nothing else can, it is a chance to connect with days past, an opportunity to understand and explore perception as our ancestors did, feelings of a by gone age, and innovative thoughts of the time. Museums are houses for channelling such beliefs. And quite frankly, they are being increasingly used as cultural motifs in the destination marketing strategies of public tourist bodies across the world. So why should Goa be any different? Subodh Kerkar, the curator of The Museum of Goa, also has similar views. He believes, “Art is the universal language of the world today. Goa can be a part of the global conversation. However, being a prime tourist destination, its beautiful beaches gain more importance over its art and culture.”In the first year since their opening,20,000 people were said to have visited the museum, out of which, 75% were tourists and 25% locals.
On a daily basis, the museum is said to receive around fifty to hundred visitors. The museum largely concentrates its focus on young art lovers and students, as a result of which, it will be hosting a contemporary art programme for over 5,000 students from within Goa itself. The purpose of this programme is to promote contemporary art and spread awarenessamongst school-goers. It can also be viewed as an attempt to teach people how to contemplate the beauty of art.In similar vein, further south, there are endeavours being undertaken to preserve some of Goa’s heritage.Victor Hugo Gomes, the restorer and curator of the Goa Chitra, an ethnographical museum,works towards showcasing the lifestyle, indigenous methods, craftsmanship and the art of folklore of the ancestors of Goa.Being one of the largest museums in Goa, it has gained immense popularity amongst tourists, and has had about 4,00,000 visitors since its opening in 2009. Goa Chitra aims at spreading awareness not only amongst students, but amongst people of every age.
“Goa Chitra is of great educational importance for many institutes like the FLAME University in
Pune, National Institute of Design and National Institutes of Technology,and international institutes like University of Bologna in Italy and Carleton College, Minnesota. The cruise-line tourists constitute a major part of the visitors to Goa Chitra. Many art lovers have also been spotted visiting the museum regularly. Goa Chitrahas a tie up with Carleton College and every year, for a period of three months, a batch of students is hosted at the museum and is trained to design their own individual pieces of art,” Victor shares. Museums in their own right have a part to play when it comes to our heritage, and one can only hope that they help instil a belief that there is more to Goa than its beaches and that more visitors are drawn to such places so that the state’s heritage may live on. [H]

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