By Ankur Biplav
For the International Museum Day on May 18, the Union ministry of culture has planned an international museum expo to showcase the cultural heritage of different museums across the country. The three-day expo will be held in New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, and aims to educate people who want to start or develop new museums or those looking to upgrade existing facilities.The International Museum Day has been observed by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) every year ever since 1977. This year the theme for the celebrations will be ‘museums, sustainability and well-being’.On this occasion, let’s take a look at some of the world’s oldest museums.
The Capitoline Museums, Rome
Situated atop Capitoline Hill in Italy’s capital, Rome, the Capitoline Museums are a group of art and archaeological museums. Operated by municipality of Rome, the museums’ collection includes several ancient Roman statues and inscriptions. It was the bronze sculptures donated by Pope Sixtus IV in 1471 which were the first items to be the part of the collections. Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli is the current director of this museum. There are three main buildings which constitute the Capitoline Museums, namely Palazzo Senatorio (built in the 12th century), Palazzo dei Conservatori (built in the mid-16th century), Palazzo Nuovo (built in the 17th century).
The Prado Museum, Spain
Located in central Madrid, the Prado Museum is officially known as Museo Nacional del Prado and is currently the main Spanish national art museum. Though it was initially founded as a museum of paintings and sculptures in 1819, it also contains several other kinds of works. Apart from the works of famous Spanish romantic painter & printmaker Francisco Gaya, the museum also houses some of the works by Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco and Peter Paul Rubens.
The Vatican Museums
Founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, the museums contain roughly around 70,000 works, of which around 20,000 are currently on display. Besides having
collections of art, archaeology and ethno-anthropology collected by popes over several years, it also contains some of the Apostolic Palace’s (the official residence of the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church) rooms. In the current times, the rooms of Pope Alexander VI are displayed which show the collection of contemporary art and was inaugurated by Paul VI in 1973.
The Ashmolean Museum, Britain
The Ashmolean Museum is the art and archaeology museum situated on the University of Oxford campus. The museum was founded in 1683 and has a collection of Egyptian mummies to contemporary art which can be viewed by the visitors of this museum. Considered to be Britain’s first public museum, it is known for the best collections of pre-Raphaelite paintings, majolica pottery and English silver. While the museum contains drawings by Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci, it also has paintings by Pablo Picasso, Paolo Uccello, Titian, Samuel Palmer and several other legendary painters.
Considered one of the most comprehensive ethnographical museums in the world, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera) celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2014. The museum has nearly 2,000,000 items stored, which include purchases from Dutch collectors Albertus Seba and Frederik Ruysch. Yuri Chistov is the current director of this museum. This museum stands facing the Winter Palace in Universitetskaya Embankment in Saint Petersburg. It was first opened for public viewing by Peter the Great in 1714.