Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), Bhopal is an autonomous organization of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
A nucleus of a 'National Museum of Man' began functioning from New Delhi from 21st March 1977 as part of the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI). In 1978, it was separated from the Anthropological Survey of India and declared as an Independent Subordinate Office of the Department of Culture (now Ministry of Culture), GOI. In March 1985, the Museum was renamed as Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, at the instance of the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, which was later (1993) through a Cabinet decision named after Indira Gandhi as Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya. For an international perspective, the term 'National Museum of Mankind' was adopted. Unlike other national museums, which were set up to house certain collections in possession, the IGRMS was started without any collection to display, rather with a set of ideas. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya acts as a facilitator for forging interrelation between the Community and Museums. The IGRMS offers One Year Post Graduate Diploma in Museology for graduates in any discipline.
The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) is spearheading an interactive Museum Movement in India, to celebrate the simultaneous validity of various valuable cultural patterns evolved over thousands of years. The organization is working for national integration, and promotes research and training and inter-institutional networking for salvage and revitalization of vanishing but valuable cultural traditions and highlights the unity and diversity; and organizes exhibitions to present an integrated story of biological evolutions and variations. The IGRMS, through its exhibitions and salvage activities, demonstrates the aesthetic qualities of India's traditional lifestyles; local knowledge and mores, and caution the people against unprecedented destruction of ecology, environment, local values, customs, etc. There is a paradigm shift in the museum education process and IGRMS envisages a definite role for itself in this process.
In India, there are two types of Museums.
The Art and Archaeological museums, in the first category, highlight the artistic traditions of India. They do not tell the story of the evolution of the Indian civilization and about the varieties of cultural life in contemporary India.
The other category of museums deals with natural history, science and technology, and conveys through its exhibits, the basic principles of the subjects they deal with, but it tells very little of the man who has created and developed the civilization. Some of the larger composite museums in India, namely, Indian Museum, Kolkata, Government Museum Madras etc. do contain sections on anthropology but the exhibits are mostly of curio type or of an artistic value and have limited coverage.
The IGRMS has, thus, been conceived to be an Institution dedicated to the presentation of the saga of man in time and space, with accent on the richness and diversity that have gone into the making of Indian culture.
The 17 categories collections include:
IGRMS exhibitions are broadly divided into three categories namely:
Conceptually, the presentations in open-air and indoor galleries are complementary to each other. The objectives of these exhibitions are to present the cohesive lifestyles of various Indian communities in different eco-climatic zones of the country, their aesthetic values, religious expressions, and socio-economic philosophies for living. The emphasis is to highlight their richness and diversities of India’s cultural patterns and the underlying unity. To begin with, the lifestyle of the people living in tribal hamlets, coastal Indian regions along the lengthy sea coastlines, Himalayan regions, river valleys, deserts and arid zones are presented through the exhibitions. To show the richness and diversities, different clusters of traditional house-types from different regions are either transplanted or re-created in the open-air exhibitions. Care has been taken to create an appropriate environment around these house-types.
Open Air Exhibitions
Clusters of the following open-air exhibitions partially developed and opened for the public: Tribal Habitat. Coastal Village, Desert Village, Himalayan Village, Mythological Trail, Traditional Technology Park. The most striking feature of the open-air exhibitions is that the exhibits are life-size dwellings built by different tribal communities themselves. The materials which are traditionally used for construction in their respective regions were specially transported to Bhopal for creating the replica. To create the ambiance, concerned tribal groups did their own home-work by surveying their regional hamlets to understand the intriguing patterns of structural designs, placement of household objects in each location within and outside the house, collect the sacred flora and ritualistic objects to be planted outside the house-types
Veethi Sankul - Indoor Galleries
This is constructed in about 12000 sq. mt. area with spacious exhibition halls, a reference library, indoor & outdoor auditoriums and other miscellaneous facilities, and dedicated to the nation in March 2005. The structure is unique in its architecture, constructed on a rocky terrain incorporating difficult levels of the sloppy land. The various exhibition halls and auditoriums have been constructed on approximately 16 levels. The structure is covered with Dholpur sand-stone cladding from all sides, and the flooring is made with Kota stones. Approximately 7000 sq. mt. floor area is utilized for exhibitions, in 10 galleries. An important aspect of these galleries is the active involvement of different community groups in developing the exhibits, and their presentations in an appropriate environment. Another special feature is the life-size displays and visitor-friendly approaches for visitors' convenience.