Today, National Craft Museum on the five-acre premises holds 35,000 distinctive pieces reflecting Indian craft traditions through painting, embroidery, textiles, clay, stone and wood, all housed in the building designed by architect Charles Correa in the 1970s.
The Hastakala Academy is going to come up in the place of National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum (NHHM), commonly known as National Crafts Museum, on Bhairon Marg. In fact, once the academy is operational, NHHM is going to be “integrated” into it and will be run as a subsidiary.
What may concern art lovers and collectors in the city is what happens to the collections inside the museum. The museum represents more than a hundred years of the craft history of India. “To dismantle a national crafts museum, and put in its place an academy, seems a travesty. There has been no concept note circulated so no one really knows what is going to happen.
Why destroy something that has worked well! Find a different home for Hastakala Academy - build an expansion and integrate the Academy as a subsidiary to the National Craft Museum.
In the world where cultural history is disappearing every day, I believe the craft rich India beautifully made traditional objects must be preserved. Museums, caretakers of these crafts, must be supported and sustained to make history and traditions available to future generations. Leadership and foresight is needed. Smithsonian National Museum of American Indian, built 20 years back has more than million objects of Native Americans, American Indians, that are cared, respected, showcased and preserved. I find this incredibly short sighted and should be stopped.