A Transition Space : Musa Dakri Museum

Aligarh Muslim University wanted to establish a world-class University Museum in Kennedy Hall. A large number of treasured antiques would be preserved in this Museum. A US-based well-wisher of AMU, Mr. Musa Dakri had donated a sum of 50 thousand US dollars to the University. Mr. Musa Dakri belongs to Gujarat,  India and now he lives in the US. He visited the Aligarh Muslim University in the month of January 2014. At that time, AMU Vice Chancellor, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah had thanked for his altruistic donation. Gen. Shah appreciated his efforts and now, this museum is known as Musa Dakri museum, AMU.

The biggest responsibility of this museum is to develop its educational role and attract wider audiences from all levels of the community, locality or group it serves. It offers opportunities for such people to become involved in the museum and to support its goals and activities. The information a visitor receives during this museum visit tends to bear a ‘contextual map’. The visit of this museum represents a collection of experiences rather than a single unitary experience.

Any information obtained during this museum visit is likely to include social and sensory experience. These associations will become embedded in our memory altogether with the result that anyone facet of these experiences can facilitate a recall of the entire experience. The sensitively planned built environment of this museum allows individuals to constantly engage in various activities taking place in the complex and enhance their train of thought. Exploring different typologies of spaces within the museum etches a distinct memory in an individual’s experience in understanding the museum.

The archives at the museum are massive! Image: Pranav Varshney

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan preserved the antiquities and other archaeological objects like sculptures, carved stone pieces, doorjambs and concrete panels at Scientific Society Institute presently known as Dawakhana Ajmal Khan Tibbiya College. The Collections of Sir Syed in this museum consist of all his findings. The sculptures preserved in the collection date from 1st century A.D. to 11th century A.D.

Exhibits: This section is divided into following two parts :

  • Acheulean Tools and
  • Stone Sculptures and Terracotta Figurines.

1.Acheulean tools: The Palaeolithic (Acheulean) tools collection consists of Hand axes, Picks, Cleavers, Scrapers, Flakes, Choppers, Discoid, and Nodules.

2. Stone Sculptures and Terracotta figurines: These artifacts were collected from Western Uttar Pradesh namely Aligarh, Etah, Farrukhabad, Meerut, Moradabad, Hathras, Muzaffarnagar, and Bulandshahr etc. by the archaeologists of the department of History like Prof. R.C. Gaur, Prof. Jamal Mohd. Siddiqi and Prof. M.D.N. Sahi.

Image: Pranav Varshney

These sculptures and terracotta figurines date back to the 3rd century B.C. to 11th century A.D. Medieval artifacts excavated from Fatehpur Sikri are also preserved in the Museum which consists of Glazed ware, Terracotta animal figurines, Chinese pottery etc.

3. The Botanical collection includes male Cones of Cycas, Rumphil, Female Cone of Cedrus Deodara, Impression fossils, Impressions of Fern Foliage, Female of Picea, Carboniferous samples.

4. The Zoological collection Frog Alizarin, Rabbit embryo, Hippocampus, Snake skull, Fossilized corals, Fossilized worms, Fossil crinoids, Fossilized sponges and Fossilized mammals etc.

The geological collection of rock samples.
Image: Pranav Varshney

5. The Geological collection consists of Retort, Stromatolite, corals, Barack Granite, Ripple marks, Apophyllite, Dinosaur molar, Calcite, Cavansite, Barite and Orthoclase, Nepheline, Syenite etc.

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