Lok Virsa celebrates International Museum Day

ISLAMABAD – The World Museum Day is observed annually all over the world today (18 May) with a view to highlight the importance, necessity and role of museums for educating and enlightening people, specially younger generation about culture, heritage, history, flora and fauna, and progress of a country. Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage), Ministry of National Heritage and Integration, has announced to celebrate World Museum Day on 18 May.
Talking to this scribe, Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid Javaid said: “museums have a great role and importance in the lives e of people. There are many types of museums; some depict the indigenous culture and traditions inherited by people from their forefathers from generation to generation like museums created and operated by Lok Virsa. Others present archaeological sites, past history, natural history and scientific inventions. The archaeological museums preserve past history and ancient civilizations that fall in Pakistan under the domain of Department of Archaeology. Museums not only acquaint people with their culture, history and other related aspects but also provide them education in an informal and interactive way. They also serve to give fun to the masses, in particular children, he maintained.
He further addd: “Lok Virsa has proud of establishing two national thematic museums in Pakistan. These include Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology, popularly known as Heritage Museum, at Garden Avenue, Shakaparian, depicting living cultural traditions and life styles of the people of Pakistan. The second is Pakistan Monument Museum, adjacent to National Monument at Shakarpain which presents birth, history and development of Pakistan as a progressive state with special focus on the struggle for freedom movement. Both these museums, located at the beautiful lush green Shakaparian hills, not only contribute significantly towards the attractions of the federal capital but also enhance its beauty and landscape”.
Khalid Javaid said: “government fully supports all initiatives in Pakistan that aim to expand and strengthen the museums. As regards Heritage Museum at Lok Virsa, I would also like to acknowledge the valuable contribution made by the Norwegian government, in particular their mission in Islamabad, by providing adequate funds under joint institutional cooperation programme for the improvement and expansion of museum displays”.
The person behind creating these milestone achievements is Khalid Javaid himself who joined Lok Virsa in the year 1974. He took a major role in acquisition of most of the collections for both the museums. The artifacts were collected through extensive village-to-village and town-to-town mobile field research. I have collected 98 percent of the exhibits displayed at the Heritage Museum, he told this scribe. Another major contribution of Khalid Javaid as a museum expert is recreation, redesigning and completion of Pakistan Monument Museum, the first thematic museum in Pakistan which opened to public in November 2010.
He has also compiled/published the first directory of craftspeople in Pakistan which serves as a basic manual and guideline for the craft promoters and craft-related agencies in planning and materializing activities, programmes and projects aiming to promote and preserve the dying traditional skills in Pakistan.
He has also contributed towards different publications regarding craft heritage of Pakistan by way of his valuable input including the Encyclopedia of South Asia published in USA.
In view of his vast knowledge and expertise in the craft heritage of Pakistan, he was included in the international team of experts nominated by UNESCO for preparation of a comprehensive report on Cultural Tourism in Pakistan. Khalid Javaid was also among a few pioneering officers of Lok Virsa who instituted “Lok Mela”, the only Artisans-at-Work Festival in Pakistan which aims to reviving endangered traditional arts and promoting rural artisans, folk artists and musicians.
As a bonafide and experienced craft collector and researcher, he interviewed, researched and documented thousands of hours recordings and completed numerous research projects after extensive field surveys. His work is not only of serious archival value but also serves as a rich source of information and inspiration for future researchers/collectors. Answering a question about the forthcoming activities of Lok Virsa, Khalid Javaid informed that he was going to hold a folk festival “Lok Mela” at the end of this month in Lahore. On the World Museum Day, a musical performance featuring folk artists and musicians will be held throughout the day from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm (except break for Friday prayers from 1:00 to 2:30 pm) at Heritage Museum, Garden Avenue.

(Pakistan Today)

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