First Multimedia Gandhi Museum at Gandhi Smriti And Darshan Samiti, New Delhi

The Multimedia Museum at Gandhi Smriti redefines the presentation of history.

Here’s history with a difference. The Eternal Gandhi, Multimedia Museum at Gandhi Smirti and Darshan Samiti in New Delhi is probably the first of its kind in Indian history.

The highly interactive museum at the site where Gandhiji was martyred in 1948 uses futuristic interface technology involving physical tactile media and digital documents. “This is an attempt towards the cultural preservation of history.

The entire museum is, in fact, a digital archive on Mahatma Gandhi, which can very easily be replicated anywhere else in the world,” says Ranjit Makkuni, the project director of the museum and president of design think tank Sacred World Foundation.

The exhibition starts with an interactive Time Line Browser where an entire wall is transformed into a historical retrieval device that de-picts images and events from Gandhi’s life from 1869 to 1948, or his transformation from Mohandas to Mahatma.

As one walks along the wall the screens beam up archival footage, photos and interviews with scholars and Gandhians to create an information mosaic.

Other sections include an e-train, an installation of a compartment of a train which allows the viewer to recreate and trace Gandhi’s journey through India and the historical significance of the places he visited; e-prison, an installation with interactive prison rods depicting scenes from his life in prison; Dimensions of the Salt March which plays back audio-visual content as the visitor picks up symbolic salt from an urn.

Other equally interesting sections include the Pillar of Castelessness, e-harmonium, Ashram Story and Charkha Mandala.

“The vision behind the exhibition goes well beyond just historical chronology. It depicts innovation and crafts in a village in India while also delving into the unity of religions. Both these aspects form very important pieces of Gandhi’s philosophy.

Besides these are also important ideas globally now where we would like to give the Indian villages their identity back as well as talk about unity.

Finally, the museum is also a new application of IT, the digital media and product design,” says Makkuni, a multimedia researcher, designer and musician who gave up a top job at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre to set up the Sacred World Research Laboratory in New Delhi and San Francisco. The project is sponsored by Gandhi Smiriti , Darshan Samiti, Grasim and Hindalco.