Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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21.08.2013

Agreement between the International Centre of the Roerichs (Moscow, Russia) and the International Roerich Memorial Trust (Naggar, India) – one more step to the implementation of the Roerichs dream about rapprochement between India and Russia

It is about 9 months passed since specialists of the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) headed by the Russian Curator of the International Roerich Memorial Trust (IRMT) arrived to the Roerich Himalayan Estate in Naggar. They ICR experts were sent there on the basis of the Agreement between the IRMT and the ICR dated October 2, 2012. There were a lot of discrepant events during these months: hospitality of our Indian colleagues and echo of former contradictions, mutual interest in getting prompt results and numerous problems put the brakes on the further development. It is impossible to bypass these negative accumulations of the recent past. They should be cleared in literal and figurative sense, and the cleared gaps should be filled with mutual trust and joint coordinated work of Indian and Russian experts. This is the only way for further realization of comprehensive plans of the IRMT and the ICR connected with the creation of a modern Museum and Scientific Centre in the Roerichs Estate, as it was the dream of Dr. Svetoslav Roerich.

Development of the Concept plan of this future Cultural Centre is in full swing now at the ICR. The Concept Plan includes development of the Memorial and Museum Complex and revival of Urusvati Institute. In November, 2012 a group of the ICR architects visited the IRMT so that to prepare a plan of restoration and repair work and building of new constructions. The detailed project of the first stage – the Roerichs Memorial House restoration – is already submitted to our Indian colleagues.

It is necessary to think out a number of integrated actions to create this Memorial Museum complex in the Roerich Estate. At the time being Russian specialists are busy organizing a proper record of collections and museum items at the IRMT in accordance with international museum standards. We started to fill up the main Record book which was made in Moscow by special order of the ICR. We also continue our job of preparing the main and additional documents for funds systematization. We are going on with the verification of the Heritage items on the basis of the 1993 IRMT inventory as well as with the finding and registration of unrecorded items.

Russian specialists take a number of measures to organize museum keeping. For this purpose archive photos and documents in the exposition of Urusvati Institute were changed with copies. Some memorial items were taken out from open storage. We examine and dust control museum items and carefully clean museum and service rooms. Four additional air dehumidifiers were purchased for the Roerich House and Urusvati Institute memorial library. This summer is characterized with hyper humidity because the monsoon started very early this year.

Nicholas Roerich memorial place was arranged in the picture gallery of Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerichs. At the beginning of 1960s S. Roerich used three rooms at the first floor of the Memorial House for the gallery. An archive photo, memorial table and chair of N. Roerich were set in the exposition of the gallery's central hall where N. Roerich's study was placed before. In the photo we could see the Master sitting at this table.

On January 30, 2013, the Memory Day of S. Roerich, a new exposition was opened in the summer study of S. Roerich (S. Roerich and D. Rani Memorial). Reproductions and photos for the exposition were made in Moscow by order of the ICR. The study was repaired, electric wiring was changed, electric lightning was restored by the Indian staff. A computer was set up in the exposition with a video program showing paintings by S. Roerich. Annotation and labels in three languages (English, Russian, and Hindi) were prepared. Ashok Sharma, son of the former manager of S. Roerich, and our Indian colleagues helped us with translation into Hindi.

Besides the Roerich House and the summer study of S. Roerich, the museum complex of the IRMT includes two buildings of Urusvati Institute hidden uphills among dense Himalayan cedars – Deodars. In the former administrative building of the Institute there halls of decorative and applied arts – Russian at the second floor and folk arts of Himalayan peoples at the first floor – are located. These expositions need total renovation.

In the former building of biochemical laboratory there are exhibition halls now dedicated to the history of Urusvati Institute and its director George Roerich. They also need renovation, repair of premises and working out of expositions concepts. But at the whole we managed to change the interior of the building a little. Firstly, reproductions of paintings by N. Roerich and banners with information about him were hung in the corridor, secondly, the room of the former photo laboratory was put in order, we washed and painted walls and doors and assembled lighting system. At the moment we are planning to make here a temporary exposition of chemical laboratory on the basis of preserved equipment. In one of cases outdoors we found memorial tripods and test-tubes. We brought them to a separate room for inventory and preparing of a new exposition./p>

Museum work is always a complex of activities. We have a lot of them in the IRMT including checking, repair and maintaining of alarm system in the Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerichs gallery; temperature and humidity control; maintaining of computers and organizing of the IRMT computer network with Wi-Fi. In future we plan to arrange a telephone circuit in Urusvati Institute and connect it with the IRMT network in order to create a system of video surveillance in Urusvati buildings.

In the conference hall computers and printers were set up as well as video-projector and audio equipment. We plan to organize wide screening of videos and movies for the IRMT visitors. In evenings D. Surgin, the ICR IT specialist, and Surender Mohan, the Trust employee, give photo classes for the local children.

We regularly conduct repair and renovation works of the power supply system in the IRMT territory and buildings. Two security booths (entrance zone and Urusvati territory) were connected to the power supply system and equipped with light and outlets.

Urusvati institute memorial library premise was widen. Face-lift with repair of electric wiring and light equipment was made in the library hall and the adjoining room. Memorial cases and modern book-stands were placed in the halls.

Book stocks of the IRMT are a real treasure for future researchers and scientists. 7425 unrecorded editions of Urusvati library have been recently systematized and registered. At the moment Urusvati library funds include more than 10000 books, brochures, magazines (including «Temple Artisan», «Dawn», «New Dawn», «Maha Bodhi», books and brochures on different branches of knowledge, theosophy, religion, philosophy etc.). More than 300 articles of the IRMT funds dedicated to the Roerichs were discovered and photographed.

In the beginning of April 2013 in renovated buildings of the library there worked a group of scientists-botanists which came to Naggar on request of the ICR. V. Shatko and S. Potapova, Senior scientists of the Chief Botanical Garden of the Russian Academy of Science, examined the preservation condition of previously examined botanical collection of the Urusvati Institute (in 2010 and 2011). They also described and registered herbarium sheets discovered by the group of the ICR staff during verification process. They continued scientific and research work on collecting plants of the Kullu region and matching them with the Urusvati collection as well as flora study at the IRMT premises. They gave their recommendations to the IRMT gardeners on the greening of the Trust and care taking of the plants.

The work with zoological collections of the Urusvati institute in June 2013 was continued by A. Lisovsky, scientist from the Zoological museum of the Moscow state university. He has been coming to Naggar on request of the ICR since 2010. The scientist checked the collection's preservation condition and gave recommendations on its further preservation.

For the visitors, guests and the IRMT employees a few cultural and educational programs were organized. Among them was a function dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the passing away of Svetoslav Roerich, held January 30th, 2013; program dedicated to the Birthday of Helena Roerich in February 2013; program dedicated to the Victory in the Great Patriotic War on May 9th, 2013.

In June the ICR exhibition “Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” was opened in the modern exhibition hall of the IRMT. As part of the preparation for this exhibition, the exhibition hall was repaired, suspension system was improved, new curtains were purchased.

Mr. Gupta, director of the LAC department of Himachal Pradesh, attended the inauguration of the exhibition. In his address Mr Gupta spoke on the special high status of the place where great Russian painter Nicholas Roerich lived and worked for India and the whole world. He also remarked that joint coordinated work of Indian and Russian employees was necessary for the development of the IRMT.

Children, members of the photography class, solemnly performed the Anthem of India written by R. Tagore. Young teachers of the Art Academy named after Helena Roerich (for children) sang traditional songs and presented local dance program.

L. Surgina, Russian curator at the IRMT, briefly spoke on the history of the Roerich pact and its actuality for the modern times. She also noted the relevance of the Banner of Peace for the future of the mankind. Banner of Peace flies above the ICR in Moscow and the Roerich House in the IRMT in Naggar, symbolizing indestructible bridge between Russia and India – a bridge which was founded by the great Roerich family. The present Agreement on cooperation between the ICR and the IRMT represents one more step towards the realization of the dream of the Roerichs about the rapprochement of Russia and India, East and West, of building great future of Culture on our planet.


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