A disaster risk management plan in the making came too late for National Museum of Natural History. Three weeks after experts held intensive brainstorming sessions on ‘Disaster Risk Preparedness Plan for Museums’ at a workshop organised by the National Museum Institute along with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the museum was devastated by a fire.
In response to a longstanding demand of conservationists and museologists for a strong disaster risk management plan for museums in the country, the NDMA had recently initiated the process to draft new guidelines for museums and was in talks with experts to form a core team for the task.
“So far we have no idea of the extent of the damage in the museum and are waiting to go in to make an assessment of the loss… We are not very hopeful of finding anything but still have our fingers crossed,” said Anupriya Singh, officer on special duty in the public relations department of the museum, as she broke into tears.
AGK Menon, conservationist and Delhi chapter convenor of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, said, “The National Museum of Natural History was not housed in something that was designed to be a museum… It was more of a makeshift museum. Instead of crying over spilt milk, we should treat this incident as a wake up call and prepare our other museums for such hazards.”