The historic Bapu Museum, located on MG Road in the heart of Vijayawada city, is getting ready to be available to the general public after renovations.
The archaeological museum, one of the biggest in Andhra Pradesh, was closed in the latter part of 2015 after the government decided to refurbish it and construct a new building adjacent to it to accommodate new archaeological findings after the state bifurcation.
Officials say the museum is being upgraded to international standards with the introduction of LED projectors, 3D technology and the installation of CCTVs in the premises.
For Vijayawada locals or for people visiting the city, there are only a few spots to hang out. While one is Bhavani Island, the other is this museum, which allows people to revisit history.
The foundation for the old building was laid on June 27, 1887 by the then Krishna District Collector, Robert Swell. Later the monument came under the control of the Nuzvid Zamindar, Meka Venkatadri Apparao.
This historic building was also where freedom fighter Pingali Venkaiah presented the first design of the national flag to Mahatma Gandhi when the latter came to Bezawada in 1921.
The Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Andhra Pradesh took over the monument and established an archaeological museum named Victoria Jubilee Museum in 1962.
In 2015, the museum was renamed as Bapu Museum in memory of Sattiraju Lakshmi Narayana, a well-known film director, cartoonist, painter and author, who was professionally known as Bapu.
Now 13 digital projectors and 3D equipment is being set up in the new building to depict the scene of Pingali Venkaiah handing over the national flag to Gandhiji.
Speaking to TNM, Assistant Director of Museums B Deepak Joe said, “In order to bring the museum up to international standards, the government is adopting new technologies that give visitors a quick computerised view of any statue or antique.”
He also said, “Installation of the statues is under progress under the supervision of senior archaeologists. We are making sure that there is no error in the exhibits displayed in the new museum.”
The government of Andhra Pradesh has so far spent Rs 4.8 crore in the renovation and restoration works.
K SB Keshava, Deputy Director of Museums, told TNM, “We are almost done with the works, we have also sent proposals for other works. The Engineering Department has been asked to speed up the remaining works.”
He added, “Once the government gives the nod to whatever work has been completed, the museum will reopen.”
When asked about the delay in opening it for the public, he said, “Conservation work has to be done in a very careful manner, each excavated and sourced element needs to be archived, so it takes time.”
Pre-historic tools, manuscripts, stone-cut writings, armours and shields used by ancient kings, in addition to paintings and artifacts of Buddhist and Hindu relics belonging to the 2nd and 3rd century will be on display. The sculpture garden inside the museum has as many as 90 stone sculptures dating back from the 2nd century to the 18th century. The building, built in the Indo-European architectural style, itself is a treat for visitors.