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Planning to interpret the Sacred in India's Museums at a time of widespread rapid Cultural Change
Barry Lord

Barry Lord Barry Lord is Co-President of Lord Cultural Resources, the world's largest firm specialized in the planning and management of cultural institutions. A Canadian who lives in Toronto, his graduate work was in History and Philosophy of Religion at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University. Lord Cultural Resources has completed over 1,800 planning and management assignments for cultural institutions in 49 countries world-wide, including India, where Mr Lord has led a team planning a new museum on the history of Jaipur and the culture of Rajasthan for the former Sawai Man Singh II Town Hall in Jaipur. The firm has recently been selected to plan a new museum on the contribution of Bihar to the ancient civilization of India in Patna.

Abstract : Sacred objects, sacred places, sacred rituals are things or locations or activities that are invested with special meanings for those who venerate them. This veneration may take the form of worship, or may be more simply manifested by a heightened degree of respect. India abounds in the sacred. Sacred objects are found in temples, but sacred places are likely to be encountered almost anywhere. Indeed, the abiding genius of India might be said to be her capacity to locate the sacred anywhere, at any time. What happens when museums present sacred objects? Or when museums include temples or other sacred places? How should museum professionals in India present the sacred objects in their care? What is the range of visitor experiences that the museum may offer, and how does that compare with the experience of the faithful in the temple? This paper considers (but does not pretend to resolve) these weighty questions. Key words : Sacred Objects, Museums, interpretation, Cultural Change