By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 9: The much awaited Tibet Museum officially launched their new space at T-building in the Central Tibetan Administration compound on Wednesday with Sikyong Penpa Tsering present for the inauguration along with representatives from the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. The museum, curated by Dr. Emma Martin, has archival documents and pictorial records that span from the 1950s’ contemporary history, and also gives an overview of Tibetan history with glimpses of introduction to the lineages of kings and religious sects.
“We have to make sure we make as many people come down here to Gangchen Kyishong where you already have a regular tourist attraction with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, which also has a tremendous amount of literature, manuscripts and artifacts. Now we have the museum here, where Tibetans and non-Tibetans can visit both the library and the museum together,” said the CTA’s President, adding that eventually a virtual guide with multiple languages will also be in use, so that anybody can access the material available at the museum.
Content developer Tenzin Jinpa told Phayul about the museum’s ultimate objective, “What we are doing here is telling the story of Tibet by Tibetans, and by doing so, we learn to tell our stories in context through narratives of our own people. This is not an elite platform of knowledge; we are catering to people from all walks of life and hope to sustain ourselves for more exhibitions to come. You can see that many of the artifacts have been donated by ordinary Tibetans in exile, which has immense value to the preservation of our culture.”
The head curator Dr. Emma Martin from the University of Manchester with the team members worked on the archives for over four years after former Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay approved the project in 2017. The 540-lakh Rupees project is now open for display, with plans for film screenings and talk series with experts.
“[The museum] aims to challenge the representations of Tibet and the Tibetan people that feature in the museums of China, Europe and North America. Here, we tell a different story. Tibet in this museum has a past, a present and a future,” the pamphlet introducing the museum read. The original museum was first established by the then Tibetan government-in-exile in 1998 at McLeod Ganj, which was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in April 2020.