Hit hard by lockdown, Goa museums await Government nod to reopen

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Home / Art and Culture / Hit hard by lockdown, Goa museums await Government nod to reopen

Goa, popular among tourists as a beach destination, is also a melting pot of rich heritage and culture. The state boasts of an ancient culture and modern lifestyle and tourists as well as natives, can get a slice of history with them on every visit to Goa’s cultural hubs.

Museum of Goa, Houses of Goa Museum, Bigfoot Cross Museum, Goa Chitra, Mario Miranda Museum and the Moda Goa Museum, expected to open this December are some of the museums one can visit on their Goa trip, especially if you set out to explore the state as a local.

Due to the coronavirus-led lockdown, that came into effect in March 2020, the museums, which used to otherwise a large number of visitors or normal days, have remained closed. Though a lot of curbs have been lifted in Goa in Unlock 1.0, museums have not yet been allowed to reopen.

Owners of Goa’s heritage museums, which were struggling to stay afloat due to the COVID-19 crisis, are hopeful that the state government will allow them to reopen their premises for visitors soon.

Maendra Alvares, the curator of Big Foot museum at Loutolim village in South Goa district, said his gallery has been shut for over two-and-a-half months now. But, he is hopeful the government will allow museums to reopen.

The Big Foot Museum, spread across 12 acres, has a sculpture of Mirabai, which has been registered in the Limca Book of Records as the longest laterite sculpture in India.

Victor Hugo Gomes, curator of Goa Chitra museum, says “We have temporarily closed the place. It has been financially draining, but personally I got time to sit and document whatever I have been collecting all this while.”

“We have already installed a sanitisation booth for visitors. They will be provided face masks and social distancing will be maintained during tours of the place,” he said.

Gomes is also hopeful that once the museum opens, the footfalls will not be less than earlier.

The United Nation’s cultural agency last month warned that nearly 13 per cent of museums around the world may never reopen, as about 90 per cent of them globally have had to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two studies by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) said museums have been especially affected by the pandemic, with nearly 90 per cent of them, or more than 85,000 institutions, having closed their doors for varying lengths of time during the crisis.

-- with PTI inputs

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