Shut since August 2023, Central Museum
   Date :19-May-2024

Central Museum
By Vikas Vaidya :
The 161 years old Ajab Bangla awaits renovation 
Till August 2023, the Central Museum, popularly known as Ajab Bangla, was open for visitors. Since then it kept closing its doors periodically. Last year around July end, when the building started showing signs of water leakage, the then head of he museum in consultation with the State Government closed the over 161 years old museum for renovation. Nine months since, the Ajab Bangla still awaits repairs. Then, as immediate measures to avoid further damage to the heritage structure and protest the artefacts, the administration had laid a plastic cover over the roof. With passage of time, the plastic cover also got damaged.
The delay in renovation works is due to callous approach of the Government. For long, the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums Maharashtra State failed to provide a full-time Curator for the museum. In January 2024, the museum did get a full-time Curator — Mayuresh Khadke. When contacted, Khadke told ‘The Hitavada’, “The procedure regarding renovation of the Ajab Bungla had started last year. The architects who were from Haryana were given the contracts for various works. Unfortunately, whatever small work they did was not upto the mark. Dissatisfied by the work, their contract was to be cancelled.” Now, the new application has been sent to the State Government for its consent to start the procedure afresh. Five years ago, during various works at Kasturchand Park, many British-era canons were found at the ground. Those were shifted to the Central Museum.
The museum authority had spent over Rs 50 lakh on it for the application of conservating techniques to protect canons from getting rusted. The canons were placed in the museum premises after a new look. According to Khadke, Central Museum needs renovation and conservation of its artefacts. “We first will focus on the renovating the building and then start the process for conservation of the artefact. If everything goes well, then renovation of the building would be completed in another four months,” said Khadke. With renovation work taking its time to finalise, the heritage structure in the heart of the city remains in dilapidated condition. Ironically, as of today, garbage dumped near its compound wall is giving a shabby look to the museum.