A Day At The Museum

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From vintage rickshaws and rare musical instruments to quirky 3D frames and contemporary art masterpieces, take a peek into five unique private collections in India

Heritage aircraft, preserved letters from the days of Indo-Pak Partition, antique musical instruments and toilets from around the world… hidden across the country are fascinating private collections of art and heritage meant for the public eye. Here are five of the most intriguing among them that you must visit.

Heritage Transport Museum Gurugram, Haryana

A vintage Morris Minor as a reception desk, motorcycle handlebars as door handles and vehicle bulbs as room lights… Even before you enter the main show area of the Heritage Transport Museum at Taoru, near Gurugram, you know you are in for a unique journey. From cars, scooters, buses and a railway coach to bullock carts, horse carriages, palkis and a 1940 Piper J3C Cub aircraft dramatically suspended from the roof, the museum (launched in 2013) takes you through the heritage of Indian transportation, with around 2,500 vehicles and associated memorabilia on display. Each floor of the museum offers new surprises drawn from roads and lanes of yore, collected over decades from across the country by hotelier and automobile enthusiast Tarun Thakral.

Kiran Nadar Museum Of Art New Delhi

Kiran Nadar Museum Of Art New Delhi

In 2010, when India’s first private museum of art, KNMA, was launched, it was one of the few places in the world where one could admire a Jamini Roy and an Anish Kapoor under one roof. Offering original works of a generation of 20th-century Indian artists from the post-Independence decades and also of younger contemporary artists, the museum didn’t only chronicle the history of Indian art, but also brought it closer to the masses. With showcases by the likes of Dayanita Singh, Himmat Shah, Jeram Patel and KG Subramanyan, the Shiv Nadar Foundation- funded initiative also regularly hosts talks and interactive sessions with influential voices in the art world, in collaboration with artists, fellow arts organisations, schools, colleges, NGOs and trusts. Today, KNMA is not just a gallery but one of the foremost institutions that’s pushing the envelope in the field of Indian art.

Sarod Ghar, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

Set up in the ancestral home of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, in the name of Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan Saheb, the museum houses a collection of musical instruments belonging to great masters. Take note of the rabab of Ghulam Bandagi Khan Bangash, the tanpura of Krishnarao Shankar Pandit, the violin of Allauddin Khan and the tabla of Ahmed Jaan Thirakwa.

Click Art Museum Chennai

Click Art Museum Chennai

Take a selfie with an orangutan, receive a gift from Santa Claus or evade a karate kick thrown by Jackie Chan! Your imagination can go as far as you want at Click Art Museum, India’s only 3D museum. In keeping with the vision of the one-year-old museum, the exhibits here are also called trick art or optical art – two-dimensional images that play with the illusion of a third dimension when seen from a certain angle. Each work of trick art on display looks different when seen from different vantage points, and the effect is especially magnified when viewed through a camera lens. Deviating from the standard rules of museums across the world, visitors to Click Art museum are permitted to touch the exhibits and even pose with them, should they so please. The quirky space is home to more than 20 exhibits and seeks to establish more innovative ways for spectators – art lovers and laymen alike – to engage with art.

Partition Museum, Amritsar, Punjab

The Partition Museum, set up in a wing of the restored Amritsar Town Hall, is home to objects and memorabilia that narrate personal histories of the Partition

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