Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Visakha Museum

A visit to the Visakhapatnam museum last month proved to be a disappointing affair. The objects on display were a motley collection, mostly donated by eminent and not-so-eminent citizens; most were of doubtful historical value. For instance what’s the historical value of currency notes from Latvia donated by a Latvian citizen who visited the museum a couple of years ago? Or the collection of modern coins from a dozen countries around the world? Or the modern paintings by just a couple of painters? It looked as if the museum was just kind enough to accept whatever people offered, without trying too hard to acquire anything by itself.

However, there were a few objects that made my visit worth the trouble -- a telescope from the old observatory, some old photographs of the city’s coastline, and larger-than-life portraits of the Vizianagaram and Bobbili rajahs (placed facing each other!) But the most interesting exhibits stood outside, in the cool gardens and lawns around the pretty Dutch building (which houses the museum). Among them I found this rock edict commemorating a change in the city’s name.

The entry fee was around Rs. 10 for an adult and Rs. 5 for a child. Unfortunately for me, the Maritime Museum, housed in the first building on the left, was closed for renovation when I visited. So all I could look at was the things in the old building.