Displaying India’s Heritage describes the history of museum-making in the Indian subcontinent in the 1800s and 1900s with special emphasis on the experience of Bengal. The central discussion focuses on the Indian Museum in Calcutta during the colonial period; the Museum began as a natural history collection. During the early part of the twentieth century, when scientific history writing placed an emphasis on archaeological knowledge, the Indian Museum became a repository of archaeological artefacts from across the subcontinent. Knowledge blended with nationalist pride about cultural heritage. Soon local museums began asserting their right over excavated artefacts and princely states presented the pre-eminent position of their families through palace museums. The emerging contest between imperialism and nationalism and the complex relationship between knowledge and power, began shaping the visualisation in the display boxes.
Based on strong archival research, this book highlights the connection between the museum movement and the broader political and cultural environment of the time. This important work will interest students of modern Indian cultural history, museology, archaeology and cultural studies.
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