Week 4: Presentation on Indian Art (Museum Visit)

By: Sujatha Meegama |

If you cannot visit a Hindu temple, then please visit a museum.

Guidelines for Museum Visit

*If you choose to focus on objects at the Asian Civilizations Museum or/and the Indian Heritage Center, please keep the following points in mind.

*Your presentation must have a point supported by visual and textual evidence. Apart from scholarly books and articles, you can include additional information from the museum catalogs, wall panels/labels, museum web site, audio guide, tours, and other forms of interpretation produced by the museum.

*Remember to ask or look around for rules about photography.

*Please show your ticket stub/sticker to the tutor, or a photograph of yourself/the group at the museum.

  1. Choose one of the three main gods OR choose a type of image to focus on (i.e. sculptures, relief carvings, or bronzes).

*Who is the deity you have chosen to work on?

*Where was this image found? How did it function in its original context?

*Has this deity received equal attention as the other gods?

  1. In your presentation, address not only the objects that you have chosen, but also the installation.

*How has the museum or heritage center presented the images?

*Ask yourself, why are these objects grouped together?

*How have the curators and the educators tried to recreate a context for these objects to be understood in a museum by 21st-century museumgoers?

*Has the museum taken the practice of darsan into account in their installation?

*When you are at the museum or heritage center, engage all your senses (please do not touch!).

*Note that these objects are generally surrounded with interpretation: there are different levels of interpretation depending on the various audiences (or age groups). What do you think of these forms of interpretation? Can you suggest any other forms that would be more appropriate?

  1. If a context does not exist, then propose an installation for this deity in a museum space. Imagine you have access to loads of money and can buy any image!

*What works and what doesn’t work at the ACM or heritage center?

*How would you address the complexity of this deity in an installation at the museum or the heritage center?

*Has the ACM or heritage center done enough to educate the average museum visitor or even the student/scholar of Asian art?

*Is the ACM or the heritage center up to date with current scholarship on Hindu gods and goddess?

*How would you propose something different?

*Do not be afraid to be creative. We value it.

*If you find a superb youtube video of what happens during a puja or a festival, feel free to use it (of course, please cite it).

*Finally, remember that you have only 20 minutes for this presentation.

Asian Civilisations Museum
Asian Civilisations Museum

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