LAHORE: The three-day International Heritage and Museums Conference concluded here at Alhamra on The Mall on Saturday.The last day of the conference featured workshops on digital documentation and visualisation, digital imaging of objects and sites, digital technologies and visitor engagement and digital storytelling for the audience experience.
The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) had organised the conference in collaboration with the British Council Pakistan.The conference, which was aimed at sharing knowledge and best practices and discussing the challenges faced by Pakistan in terms of preservation of museums and heritage, brought together 20 foreign delegates and 40 experts from all over Pakistan.
The delegates spoke in detail on integration of tangible and intangible heritage, state of museums in Pakistan, enhanced community and public participation, audience development and outreach extension. They were also taken to the Walled City, Lahore Fort, Badshahi Masjid and the smadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
British Council Pakistan Director Kevin McLaven said this was British Council’s first joint venture with the WCLA. “We had a good and interactive audience on all days of the conference. This shows how much interest the younger lot is taking in heritage and museums of Pakistan,” McLaven said.
WCLA Director Kamran Lashari said the conference had proved a great learning experience for Pakistani experts. He said that many new ideas were discussed at the conference. “I am glad the public at large has taken interest in this conference. I hope the media will also be supportive for the promotion of heritage and culture of Pakistan,” he said.
Asma Ibrahim, director of the State Bank of Pakistan Museum, said that her organisation had been working for improvement of museums in Pakistan. She said that museums would soon become an industry in Pakistan. “We are working to set up museums at other branches of the State Bank of Pakistan. I am encouraging private groups to set up their own museums. I offer free consultancy for that,” she said.
Abdul Samad, director of the Archaeology Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said the province had a rich heritage. He said the federal government should take steps to get Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s heritage on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. “As part of efforts to protect and revive the dying intangible heritage of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we have developed an artisan centre. The effort has proved a success,” Samad said.
WLCA Media and Marketing Deputy Director Tania Qureshi said the authority was planning to make the conference an annual feature because it had proved very fruitful.
Rebecca Bridgman, curator of Birmingham Museums, said that she saw a lot of potential for museums in Pakistan. “I really enjoyed the visits to the heritage sites and I hope these are preserved more effectively,” she said.
Jasdeep Singh, curator of the National Army Museum, Chelsea, said that he was thankful to the WLCA for taking the delegates to the Sikh Museum and the smadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Joanne Orr, CEO of Museums and Galleries, Scotland, said it was an experience coming to Pakistan. “I did not know that Pakistan was such a rich country in terms of museums and heritage,” she said.