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50 Glorious Years 1965-2015

VITM Stands Tall


Contents Chapter 1

Welcome to VITM 8

Chapter 2

Building the Institution

Chapter 3

Exploring the Museum 38

Chapter 4

Events & Activities 66

Chapter 5

Insights & Reminiscences

Chapter 6

At the Helm 94

Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum National Council of Science Museums Kasturba Road, Bengaluru - 560 001 T: 080-22866200 www.vismuseum.gov.in Open all days of the week (except Deepavali and Ganesha Chathurthi) from 10 am to 6 pm

Published 2015 Š 2015: VITM, Bengaluru All rights reserved Custom published for VITM, Bengaluru by Raintree Media www.raintreemedia.com

CIN: U51396KA2004PTC033191 Printed at Grafiprint (P) Ltd (division of WQ Judge Press) Bengaluru 2

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Sri Pranab Mukherjee Honourable President of India

The President of India, Sri Pranab Mukherjee, is happy to know that the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) is celebrating its Golden Jubilee and bringing out a memoir to commemorate the occasion. The President extends his warm greetings and felicitations to all those associated with VITM and sends his best wishes for the success of the celebrations.

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Mr. Vajubhai Vala Honourable Governor of Karnataka

“I

am glad to know that Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) is celebrating its Golden Jubilee on July 27, 2015.

Bengaluru owes much of its phenomenal growth to its atmosphere of scientific innovation. VITM has played a major role in encouraging this atmosphere of scientific discovery in Bengaluru. In its five decades of existence, the museum has been actively involved in promoting a scientific temper among the general public. The museum has inspired generations of students through its exhibitions and activities on varied themes. The museum conducts national level programmes like the National Science Seminar which highly inspires young school students who have strong conviction to bring a scientific revolution in the country. The Mobile Science Exhibition along with several science learning activities reaches out to the rural parts of South India kindling scientific attitude among rural citizens and children. On the Golden Jubilee celebration of VITM, I convey my best wishes to VITM and all those who are associated with the museum. I sincerely hope that VITM will continue to play its pioneering role in science popularisation through new initiatives to create a scientific mindset in the society and it will continue to create a scientifically progressive society free from social stigma of beliefs and superstition.”

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Dr. Mahesh Sharma Minister of State, (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India

“I

am delighted to know that Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM), a unit of National Council of Science Museums, is celebrating its Golden Jubilee on July 27, 2015. VITM, named after the legendary nation builder Sir M Visvesvaraya, has played an important role in propagating science and imparting nonformal education throughout South India for the last 50 years. VITM has also contributed to the science centre movement in India by establishing science centres in the southern states and by developing human resources for science communication. VITM’s outreach programmes through its mobile science exhibition units have reached the nooks and corners of rural India and have engaged millions of students in the process. On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of VITM, I send my best wishes to VITM and its staff. I hope VITM will continue to play an important role in inculcating a scientific temper in our society and motivate young students to take up science as a career and contribute for the growth of science and technology in the country.”

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Foreword

Mr. GS Rautela

Director ~ General, NCSM Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) has played a very significant role in supporting the science centre movement in the country. Set up in 1965 by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) with the support of Visvesvaraya Industrial Museum Society, VITM is one of the earliest organised science museums of the country. Earlier science museums, Lord Reay Museum, Pune which housed the models of the Pune Industrial Fair, was set up in 1893 and much later, Birla Museum, Pilani was set up by the Birlas in 1954. While the Lord Reay Museum closed, the Pilani Museum continues to function at the same level. Since its inception, VITM has spread its wings and played a leading role in development of other science centres and museums, specially in South India. It made four most significant contributions: (i) development of infrastructure for expansion of science centre programme in the country; (ii) developing human resource and leaders for science centres and museums; (iii) providing catalytic and material support to other upcoming science centres in the country; and (iv) networking with science centres/museums and science centre professionals for exchange of professional knowledge and development. As a result of this pioneering work of VITM, India today has 25 science centres under NCSM and 23 other centres made by NCSM have been handed over to states or union territories. All these centres have the footprints of VITM. VITM also played a role in forming the basis of a national organisation of science museums, i.e. National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), the apex body of science centres and museums in the country. 6


Thus VITM played the role of a parent in the beginning and became a child with its vibrant activities under NCSM. With the solid support of VITM, NCSM expanded its activity of setting up new science centres at a rapid pace, thus making NCSM a unique and largest network of science centres under single umbrella management in the world. VITM can take pride in many of its initiatives in the country. VITM partnered with the earliest mobile exhibition programme which started in 1965 and extended its reach to rural areas covering rural students and community in the southern part of India. This unique programme still runs even after 50 years of operation with same vigour and commitment from almost all science centres across the country. The Creative Ability Centre which provided a hands-on environment to young students to foster their interest in science and demonstrate their creativity, School Loan Service to provide science kits to schools for classroom demonstration, Teachers’ Training Programmes for professional development of science teachers, Science Fairs, Science Quiz Contests, Sky Observation, HAM Radio, Telescope Making and other such programmes have kept students and teachers engaged in the process of science throughout the year in VITM. These activities made VITM a popular institution and it remains so even today. Many successful scientists and engineers acknowledge that their passion for science developed further by their participation in VITM. VITM was set up with primary focus on artefacts or technology relics as its initial stage of development was inspired by BITM, Kolkata. However, in the USA, science museum concept was taking a radical change in early ‘70s. ‘Science Centre’ concept, the activity and hands-on approach based science centre idea was catching up. This too influenced Indian science museums. With this background and judging the success of science centres with a hands-on approach, Indian science museums also changed their approach and new concept of participatory ‘Science Centre’ was born with development of the Nehru Science Centre in Mumbai in 1979, which was the first of its kind. Subsequently, all other centres were developed under this model making them nonformal science education resource centres and hubs of public engagement in science and technology. VITM has, over the years, also changed its approach by incorporating the elements of Science Centres in its presentations to match the trend and aspirations of its audience. VITM has been a breeder of leaders for science museums and centres as many of the heads of the science centres in India have the imprint of VITM in their professionalism. On the 50th anniversary of VITM, its past and present leaders, staff and well wishers can take pride in this pioneering institution of theirs. VITM is rightly poised to grow and continue to play a meaningful role in the arena of nonformal science education, and in enhancing public understanding and appreciation of science as well as public engagement in the process of science and technology and in the expansion of the science centre activity in southern India. I wish VITM and its committed staff a happy 50th anniversary. I thank Mr. KG Kumar, Director and Mr. Madangopal, Curator of VITM for this valuable commemorative volume. 7


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Chapter 1

Welcome to VITM The Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) is 50 years young, and with each passing year, it continues to become increasingly interesting and popular!

The Greek etymology of the word ‘museum’ is a ‘temple of muses’ and the exhibits in VITM inspire curiosity in countless young minds.

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xpediently located in the heart of the city, adjoining the verdant and scenic Cubbon Park, VITM annually attracts a million visitors who leave the museum impressed and enriched with more knowledge of science and its impact on their lives.

The second organised science museum to be set up in India, VITM has a very important mandate - that of increasing public engagement with science. What is popularly referred to as a scientific temper reflects two of the basic principles of the modern philosophy of science: a) Objectivity – the knowledge of the natural world that can be universally validated, demonstrated and reproduced, b) Causality – explaining phenomena in terms of a cause and effect relationship. Both these science values preclude and critique all dogmas, conventions, biases, older ideas and beliefs that are in conflict with them. VITM’s commendable efforts in spreading the rational spirit and thought processes in society are the consequences of these core values that form the basis of scientific inquiry. As a museum dedicated to science and technology, VITM has been meticulous in documenting, demonstrating and creating awareness about the history, techniques and methodologies of applied sciences and modern inventions. The numerous exhibits assiduously collected over the years simplify complex ideas and display the application of scientific developments and their adaptation by industry that has led to the growth of modern society. Successive directors, members of the Executive Committee, the Planning and Programme 10

Committee and the supporting staff have ensured, and continue to ensure, that the museum keeps itself apace with the rapid advancements in various fields of technology. Small wonder then, that it has evolved as an innovative, world-class science museum that brings credit to the great visionary of India whose noble name it bears. VITM and its satellite units hold high and proud the promise of celebrating and nurturing a scientific temper amongst the populace for years to come.

Mission Accomplished From the very first day that it was opened to the public, VITM became a firm favourite with the people. Having received the blessings of Sir M Visvesvaraya himself, it received support of prominent business leaders and was inaugurated by none less than Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This had built up a keen interest in the residents of Bengaluru to enter the much talked about institution. The museum quickly emerged as a major tourist destination, and over a period of time, came to attract almost a million visitors annually. On March 23, 2012 at 1.00 pm, the millionth visitor walked into VITM, recording the highest number of visitors in any year till that date. The numbers have grown exponentially, taking the count of visitors in the last 50 years close to 40 million - an impressive testament to VITM’s innovative practices in bringing science to the people.


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(L to R) Mr. KG Kumar, Director, VITM, Mr. GS Rautela, DG, NCSM, Prof. RC Sobti, Chairman, Governing Body, NCSM, Prof. UR Rao, former Chairman, ISRO & Dr. Saroj Ghose, former DG, NCSM launching the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of VITM on July 28, 2014.

The National Council of Science Museums The National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) was formed as an autonomous body under the then Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, Government of India on April 4, 1978. Presently, NCSM functions under the Union Ministry of Culture and with 25 science centres and museums, it holds the unique distinction of being the largest network of museums under a single umbrella in the world. Additionally, NCSM has developed 22 science centres on a turnkey basis and handed them over to be administered by State Governments and other agencies. Headquartered in Kolkata, NCSM’s reach extends across the country through its five national level centres under which regional and district centres operate. It also has a Central Research and Training Laboratory (CRTL) in Kolkata which is engaged in continuous research in display techniques and the development of new exhibits and exhibitions, besides training museum professionals to keep

up with rapid developments in the field of science communication in the world. The exhibits curated at NCSM are interactive and immersive, and help people discover the underlying principles of science through ‘learning by doing’. The Council’s vital mission is to popularise science among the masses through various initiatives such as new galleries on science and technology, travelling exhibitions on contemporary science and technology topics, mobile science exhibitions, workshops, popular science lectures, science demonstrations, publications, and related activities. VITM was one of the earliest science museums to come under the aegis of NCSM and is its southern zonal headquarters. Standing tall at half a century of its existence, VITM is a splendid standard bearer of the noble mission to popularise science.

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Beyond Bengaluru The ambit of VITM’s vast canvas of activities extends beyond the precincts of the museum in Bengaluru. As NCSM’s nodal centre for the South, it has set up the Regional Science Centre at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh and District Science Centres at Gulbarga in Karnataka and Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu which are under the direct administrative control of VITM. VITM’s activities promote science, especially among students, through mobile science exhibitions, popular science lectures and demonstrations, video shows, quiz programmes, science fairs, science seminars, science quiz, science drama and other commemorative events. National seminars, debates, engineering fairs and a host of other programmes are also held at the state, divisional and district levels. Teachers’ training is an important activity conducted by these centres and they impart the art of creating tools and methodologies for making the teaching of science more effective in schools. On the social front too, VITM and its centres fulfil a noble purpose by reaching out to people in various places in the southern region. Important awareness programmes on pressing issues like environment, health and water management are taken to the doorsteps of people. These programmes have also focused on unmasking ‘miracles’, eradicating social evils like child marriages and tobacco use, along with creating awareness of child rights and protection. 12

Collaboration has always been a key element in the activities of VITM and its centres. Its collaborators, who include the local government bodies, overseas institutions, research centres and scientists, play a vital role in the programmes chalked out for the dissemination of science and technology. Apart from the two District Science Centres (DSC) and one Regional Science Centre (RSC) that are functioning in South India, VITM has set up the following science centres that have been handed over to the respective state governments to operate. • Regional Science Centre, Dharwad, Karnataka •  Regional Science Centre, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu • Regional Science Centre, Pilikula, Karnataka • Sub-Regional Science Centre and Planetarium, Puducherry Apart from unique exhibition galleries specifically related to the region, these new centres have all the features and facilities that are standard in every science centre in the country, i.e., Science Parks, Evolution Theme Parks, 3D theatres, Taramandals, Creative Ability Centres, libraries, auditoriums and more. In its unwavering zeal to spread science, VITM is engaged in establishing a new Regional Science Centre at Mysuru in Karnataka.


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The Sub-Regional Science Centre and Planetarium, Puducherry being inaugurated by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) and Mr. N Rangasamy, Chief Minister of Puducherry on May 3, 2015.

The Marine Biology Gallery at the Sub-Regional Science Centre and Planetarium, Puducherry 13


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Photographs that are featured here depict the galleries of the Regional and District Science Centres that take science and technology to the doorsteps of the people in different regions.

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Chapter 2

Building the Institution Progress of our world is driven by human inquiry into the truths of the universe and our ceaseless efforts to make life easier. By the end of the 19th century, these endeavours had coalesced into a vast body of disciplined knowledge, which came to be termed as science and technology. Sir M Visvesvaraya (popularly known as Sir MV) was a multifaceted genius, an engineer, visionary, technocrat, statesman and the architect of modern Mysuru State, whose vision and pioneering projects set India on the path of progress. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Sir MV’s personality epitomises the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and reform; traits that the Constitution of India adjures citizens to develop as one of their fundamental duties.

News of the museum was widely reported and captured the public fancy, thanks in no small measure to the stature of the people who lent their support to the setting up of the institution.

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An idea is born

Mr. K Umanatha Rao constituted a like-minded and powerful group of members.

T

he reality of the museum began with the germ of an idea born in the mind of a visionary journalist and nationalist, Mr. BN Gupta. Having travelled widely and inspired by museums in the West like the Smithsonian, he came up with the idea of establishing a similar museum in Bengaluru in 1958. He mooted that it would be a fitting homage to Sir M Visvesvaraya, whose birth centenary was approaching.

A few of his friends, who were among the leading businessmen of the city, readily accepted the idea and formed the Visvesvaraya Industrial Museum Society (VIMS) with Mr. BN Gupta as its President. Mr. YN Gangadhara Setty, Chairman of Ramkumar Mills Ltd, Mr. TS Rajam, Chairman of Sundaram Motors, Mr. VS Natarajan, Managing Director of Standard Bricks and Tiles Ltd., Dr. MK Panduranga Setty, Chairman of Krishna Flour Mills Ltd, Mr. TB Moody, Founder of India Tin Industries and

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With Sir MV’s blessings, the Society swiftly set about planning and implementing the museum project. The Chief Minister of Mysuru State, Mr. S Nijalingappa granted land for the museum in Bengaluru in the verdant expanse of the Cubbon Park and funds were mobilised through organisations like the All India Manufacturers’ Organisation, the apex body of medium industries and business houses, which was established by Sir MV in Mumbai. The foundation stone of the museum was laid by Mr. BD Jatti, Chief Minister of Mysuru State on September 15, 1958, Sir MV’s 98th birthday. To organise a tribute worthy of the great man, the Visvesvaraya Centenary Celebration Committee was constituted with eminent industrialists like Mr. JRD Tata, Mr. GK Singhania, Mr. TS Rajam, Mr. BN Gupta and others as members and with Mr. S Nijalingappa as the Chairman.

Sir MV with Mr. BD Jatti, Chief Minister of Mysuru State at the foundation stone ceremony.


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Sir MV’s birth centenary in 1960 was a glittering ceremony held at the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. A host of luminaries from the government and industry attended the celebrations, led by Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was an ardent proponent of modernising India. At the event, the Prime Minister appreciated the plans to build the museum. In the interim, architectural plans for the building were prepared by Karekar and Associates and the construction of the museum was taken up by civil contractor Mr. S Manikya Setty. The building was designed to be of 40,000 sq ft area in three floors, with a basement for a workshop to develop exhibits and models for the museum. Sir MV en route to Lalbagh for his birth centenary celebrations. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, greets Sir MV in the presence of the Governor and the last king of Mysuru State JayachamarajendraWodeyar and Chief Minister of Mysuru State S Nijalingappa.

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Mr. BN Gupta (extreme left) accompanying Prime Minister Pandit Nehru on a visit to the museum.

Mr. BN Gupta played a pivotal role in establishing the museum with the help of the members of the Visvesvaraya Industrial Museum Society. From acquiring land in the heart of the city to securing funds to construct the building and getting the Prime Minister to inaugurate the museum, Mr. Gupta was the driving force behind the project. “All credit (for creating the museum) should go to BN Gupta; he was an extraordinary person and could get along very well with the most influential people as well as a commoner. He persuaded important people to help build the museum,” says Mr. YN Gangadhara Setty. This view is endorsed by Dr. MK Panduranga Setty, who says, “Gupta was a charismatic person, with a gift of persuading anyone he met to accede to his request.”

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VITM being spruced up for the inauguration in 1962.

Those were the years of shortages and price controls, and materials like cement were in acute short supply; yet BN Gupta with his never-saydie attitude managed to organise all that was needed to construct the building. The museum building was ready on schedule, but the exhibits were not. Gupta, resourceful as ever, sought machinery and products from the HMT, the BEL and other public and private sector industries in the state for display in the museum. Soon enough, several industrial exhibits and a collection of minerals and research products from the national laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) were made available. VITM was opened to the public on July 14, 1962 by Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal

Nehru in the presence of scientific and political luminaries. The museum proudly housed various industrial products and engines. Unfortunately, Sir MV did not live to see the inauguration, breathing his last three months earlier. In order to ensure its professional management, VIMS handed over the museum and its collections to CSIR. The first meeting of the Planning Committee of VITM was held October 20, 1962 under the chairmanship of Dr. S Husain Zaheer, Director General, CSIR. Subsequently, Prof. Satish Dhawan, Chairman, ISRO, Mr. MP Birla, leading industrialist and Mr. A Bose, Director of Museums, chaired the meetings of the Planning Committee. When the museum came under the ambit of the National Council of Science Museums, Mr. YN Gangadhara Setty became the first Chairman of the Executive Committee of VITM in 1978. 21


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A view of the Kasturba Road in Bangalore in the 1960s. The triumvirate of the Government Museum (1865), VITM (1962) and the Venkatappa Art Gallery (1975), alongside the lush green expanse of the Cubbon Park, adds an intellectual flavour to the city centre. Photo courtesy: Shashi Gundurao

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An entry fee of 20 paise was introduced by the museum in 1969. Currently, the fee is `40 for a general visitor. 23


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Dr. Homi Bhabha (fourth from left) and Mr. JRD Tata (third from right) with the members of the Visvesvaraya Industrial Museum Society.

While the museum building was being readied, Mr. JRD Tata and Dr. Homi Bhabha had come to the Indian Institute of Science for the Jamshedji Tata memorial talk. At BN Gupta’s behest, JRD Tata, who had contributed to the VITM building fund, was invited to visit the site. As soon as Gangadhara Setty broached the subject and invited JRD, he said, “Shall we go now?” and along with Homi Bhabha, toured the museum, appreciating the quality of construction, design and infrastructure.

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Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and other dignitaries at the inauguration of theVITM on July 14, 1962.

Science in the Spotlight Under the steady stewardship of CSIR, there was a significant transformation in the museum’s character; from being an industrial museum, it also became a science museum. In fact, VITM counts its birthday as July 27, 1965 – the day the first gallery was inaugurated. Hence the golden jubilee is being celebrated in 2015. The CSIR had set up the country’s first organised science museum, the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum in Kolkata in 1959 and took up with gusto its new responsibility in Bengaluru. It deputed a team from Kolkata to set up the first thematic exhibition on ‘Electrotechnic’, which was inaugurated by the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms. Indira Gandhi on July 27, 1965. Since then, the museum has grown both in the number of galleries and exhibits and in the range of its activities, inspiring countless students to pursue careers in pure sciences and technology.

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With the setting up of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) in 1978, VITM came under its aegis. Apart from significantly ramping up the activities in the museum in Bengaluru, NCSM made VITM its nodal centre for South India and encouraged the setting up of science centres with state-of-the-art exhibits and activities. Thus, VITM has an influential role of moulding public interest in science in the southern part of the country.


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(L - R) Mr. BN Gupta and Mr. Prabhu Mehta, Chairman of All India Manufacturing Organisation with Prime Minister Nehru at VITM.

Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second Prime Minister of India with Mr. Gangadhara Setty at VITM.

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Mr. YN Gangadhara Setty Founding Member of Visvesvaraya Industrial Museum Society & Former Chairman, Executive Commitee, VITM

“I

t was the late revered Sri BN Gupta, veteran journalist and entrepreneur who strongly felt that Dr. M Visvesvaraya, statesman, engineer and architect of modern Mysuru State, was approaching his birth centenary and as a fitting tribute to his services to the nation, a centenary celebration should be held. After taking the consent of Sir MV, and with the whole-hearted support of Sri S Nijalingappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, a National Committee was formed with him as Chairman, and the centenary celebrations was held in a grand manner in the year 1960. The Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, had specially graced the occasion with several Union Cabinet Ministers. Donations came from Tata House, Birlas, Singhania, TVS and several other business and industrial houses. To commemorate the event, it was decided to establish a Science Museum in the southern part of India. Mr. Gupta, who had travelled widely, had visited the Birla Museum in South Kolkata and felt that such a museum would be a salute to Dr. Visvesvaraya for his contributions to the nation. This was the objective of the museum’s founders, and it was decided that in addition to creating awareness of science, the museum should also exhibit progress in technology. It would be known as the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum and would be relevant to the times and the needs of the youth and would benefit people. Dr. Bhagavantam, Director, Indian Institute of Science and Professor MS Thacker, Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister played a key role to persuade Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to perform the inauguration of the Museum on July 14, 1962. M/s Karekar and Associates were the architects and Sri Manikya Setty was the civil contractor. At our request, Sri JRD Tata and Dr. Homi Bhabha who had come to Indian Institute of Science for a Memorial Lecture visited the Museum and highly appreciated the design and infrastructure.

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...it was decided that in addition to creating awareness of science, the museum should also exhibit progress in technology. It would be known as the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum and would be relevant to the times and the needs of the youth, and would benefit people.

It was the unanimous opinion of the Members of the Visvesvaraya Industrial Museum Society that it would be in the best interest that the Museum should be handed over to the CSIR to acquire national importance and serve the purpose. Accordingly, with the good offices of Professor MS Thacker, the Museum was handed over to the CSIR. The planning and development took place during the period of Mr. A Bose in the early stages. VITM has made great strides over the eventful 50 years under successive competent officers, and they all deserve our highest commendation for its innovative additions to create interest amongst the youth and the public. I am sure the authorities concerned will recognise their work and lend the required support in all possible ways. I must, on this occasion, acknowledge CSIR with thankfulness for allowing me to be the First Chairman of the Executive Committee of VITM and to be associated with eminent persons including Professor CNR Rao (now Bharat Ratna Professor CNR Rao) when Mr. A Bose was the Director. I am more than happy that my colleague and brother, Dr. MK Panduranga Setty, who has been with me in many other endeavours, continues to be the Member of the Executive Committee in the VITM. Let me conclude that the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum has succeeded for more than half a century in fulfilling Sri BN Gupta’s vision for the benefit of technology conscious youth of the growing nation in popularising science and technology. Sri Gupta’s perseverance has given the southern part of India and its youth, an enviable institution. I will be failing in my duty if I do not acknowledge on behalf of the Society Trust, the immense help and support of the State Government and in particular from the late Chief Minister, Sri S Nijalingappa. I wish the VITM a grand golden jubilee celebration and a glorious future.”

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Ms. Indira Gandhi, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, at the opening of the first thematic exhibition on ‘Electrotechnic’ on July 27, 1965. The event is very significant as it marks the day VITM opened its first gallery. It is also regarded as VITM’s foundation day.

Mr. S Nijalingappa, the Chief Minister of Mysuru State at the opening of the ‘Motive Power’ gallery on May 23, 1967.

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Dr. VKRV Rao, Union Minister for Education & Youth and Mr. Veerendra Patil, Chief Minister of Mysuru State at the inauguration of the ‘Popular Science’ gallery on May 22, 1969.

»» M  s. Indira Gandhi, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting inaugurated the ‘Electrotechnic’ gallery on July 27, 1965. This gallery was renovated in 1990 and again in 2010 to include the latest technological advancements in the field of electricity and magnetism. »» M  r. S Nijalingappa, Chief Minister of Mysuru state inaugurated the gallery on ‘Motive Power’ on May 23, 1967. This gallery was renovated in 1994 to incorporate the history of electro-mechanical automation and was renamed as ‘Engine Hall’. »» D  r. VKRV Rao, Union Minister for Education and Youth Services inaugurated the gallery on ‘Popular Science’ on May 22, 1969. »» M  r. Veerendra Patil, Chief Minister of Mysuru State inaugurated the gallery on ‘Timber, Paper and Metals’ on July 30, 1970. »» M  r. D Devaraj Urs, Chief Minister of Karnataka inaugurated a new block that houses the ‘Exhibit Development Centre’ in 1979; the Link Block which houses the ‘Engine Hall’, the ‘Fun Science’ and the ‘Space Technology’ galleries and temporary exhibition halls was built in 1993. »» D  r. CV Vishveshwara, Head, Department of Theoretical Physics, Raman Research Institute, inaugurated the ‘Children’s Science Gallery’ on August 5, 1987. After renovation, this gallery was renamed as ‘Science for Children’, and inaugurated by Mr. R Ashok, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka on April 30, 2007. »» P  rof. G Padmanabhan, Chairman, Executive Committee, VITM, inaugurated the ‘Fun Science’ gallery on December 23, 1996. »» Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Human Resource Development inaugurated ‘Space – Emerging Technology in the Service of Mankind’ on June 19, 1999. »» Prof. G Padmanabhan inaugurated the ‘Biotechnological Revolution’ gallery on January 4, 2003. »» Mr. TN Chaturvedi, Governor of Karnataka inaugurated ‘BEL Hall of Electronics’ on June 29, 2004.

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VITM procured the MG Steam Locomotive from the Southern Railways on February, 1977. This is one among 25 meter gauge steam locomotives supplied by Dubs & Co. Glasgow, UK to Southern Mahratta Railways in 1888. Its last line of operation was between Mysuru and Ashokapuram in Karnataka. Apart from VITM, the only other surviving engine is in the National Rail Museum, New Delhi.

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Marut ‘the spirit of the tempest’ was the first indigenous attempt to design a jet fighter aircraft. Designed and developed in HAL Bengaluru by Dr. Kurt Tank in 1956, the first prototype of MK-I flew on June 17, 1961. This is one of the iconic outdoor exhibits at VITM.

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Born to Venkatalakshamma and Srinivasa Shastri, a Sanskrit scholar in the village of Muddenahalli near Bengaluru in Karnataka, Visvesvaraya grew up to do full justice to his name, which means ‘king of the universe’. Dedication, observation, curiosity, self respect, and selfless respect for the country and its people led him to think big and see farther than anyone else could. It is said that his character was strongly influenced by his mother, who was a very astute person.

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Inspiring genius – Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya Very rarely, there arrives on earth a soul so evolved, so enlightened that it changes the destiny of a land or the whole world. Scientists, artists and philosophers have influenced the course of humankind over millennia to bring us to our current sophistication. Were they taught to do so? Were they directed to? One would rather think that they were propelled to – by the sheer power of their vision, by the confidence of their genius, by the undaunted and fearless conviction that what needs to be done must be done at a specific time for humankind to progress. One such enlightened personality was M Visvesvaraya (September 15, 1860 – April 14,1962), a man of many talents and superior intelligence, a visionary and statesman. As the Dewan of Mysuru, he initiated several public works projects that were feats of engineering

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marvel and had a positive impact on the welfare of the people. In 1915, he was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) by King George V for his contributions towards public good. Since then, Visvesvaraya has been fondly called Sir MV. Sir MV lived in times when thorough upheavals were necessary to pull India out of various shackles – social, political, intellectual, industrial, economic – and set it on the path to progress. This frail-looking gentleman had the unfaltering courage to effect the transformative changes that built modern India. The nascent Indian Republic gratefully conferred its highest honour, Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India), on him in 1955.

Kaiser-i-Hind His illustrious career began as an assistant engineer in the Bombay province in 1887. He is associated with building dams and channelising water for power and irrigation, which led to agricultural and industrial progress. His inventive genius in designing the Automatic Sluice Gates at the Fife Lake in Khadakwasla was ahead of its time. He designed the water supply and drainage at the Port of Aden in Yemen that was administered by the Bombay Presidency. The British colonial government was so impressed with his services that it honoured him with the Kaiser-i-Hind medal. As the Special Consulting Engineer for the Nizam of Hyderabad, he engineered two reservoirs and an efficient drainage system stemming years of floods in the city when the River Musi overflowed. Sir MV receiving the ‘Bharat Ratna’ from the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad in 1955.

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Father of Modern Mysore State In Karnataka (Old Mysuru State), he designed the Krishnaraja Sagara dam, a remarkable feat of engineering across the River Cauvery, which boosted power generation as well as the cultivation of sugarcane and paddy. Electricity being inevitable to industries, he designed and implemented the hydro-electric power plant at Jog, across the River Sharavati. As the Chief Engineer of the erstwhile state of Mysuru from 1909, and later as its Dewan from 1912 to 1918, Sir MV planned for its all-round development, making it the most Sir MV at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru. One of the first aircraft factories in India, HAL was established on December 23, 1940 by Seth Walchand Hirachand. With Sir MV’s recommendation, Seth Hirachand succeeded in obtaining land and other facilities from the government.

Constructed in 1932, the Krishnaraja Sagara dam is named after Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the King of Mysuru who financed this novel project. This major multipurpose project features 48 automatic sluice gates. The sluice gates above were introduced for the first time in the country by Sir MV in both the Khadakwasla and the KRS dams. 36


progressive princely state in British India. He set up the Mysore Economic Conference in 1912, introduced a ‘planned economy’ for the state and went on to make significant reforms in education, agriculture, tourism, industry and commerce. To monitor and encourage economic activities, Sir MV set up the Mysore Chambers of Commerce in 1916 (current day Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and later played an important role in setting up several industries in the Mysuru State. Railway lines and roads were built and a seaport was planned at Bhatkal on the West Coast. The Bank of Mysore was set up to provide a robust banking system to support industrialisation. Several initiatives were started in both government and private sectors in iron and steel, textile, sandalwood oil, soap, bricks and tiles, handicrafts, cottage industries and many more.

Restructuring India

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the Government Engineering College and the establishment of teachers’ training institutes. His foresight resulted in primary education being made compulsory in this state and also led to initiatives for educating girls. He was also instrumental in the setting up of the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru. He played a key role in establishing the Kannada Sahitya Parishat and several libraries across the state. He was responsible for the establishment of the Century Club and the Ladies Club at Bengaluru, and the Cosmopolitan Club at Mysuru to encourage active social life that would create goodwill among people. Even after his retirement, Sir MV continued to plan and provide for the country and its people. He lead several national committees on economic development, civic administration, irrigation and education. He left indelible impressions at the Indian Science Congress and the Indian Economic Conference.

The economic survey of India conducted by Sir MV is hailed as one of the best in the country and his books Planned Economy for India and Reconstructing India are still a priority among the economic planners of the country. He established the All India Manufacturers’ Organisation (AIMO) in 1941 to encourage industrial development. The AIMO took up several activities and set up Chapters all over the country.

His mental acumen and industry inspired his contemporaries to build a fitting tribute to over eighty years of his contribution as an excellent engineer, a visionary nation builder and an exemplary human being. Thus was born the concept of the Visvevaraya Industrial and Technological Museum that was conceived on Sir MV’s birth centenary.

Moulding minds

For generations to come, VITM will be the living record of the vision, excellence and the spirit of scientific inquiry that Sir MV inspired.

Sir MV was instrumental in setting up several colleges and universities such as the University of Mysore, the Chamarajendra Technical Institute, 37


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Chapter 3

Exploring the Museum Ample evidence of VITM’s popularity is clearly audible in the happy buzz of visitors of varying ages and visible in their numbers that range from over 3000 on a weekday to 5000 on a weekend. Dedicated to instilling a positive attitude towards scientific thought processes, the museum is open through the year, and is closed only on two days, welcoming people who are agog with curiosity to explore and discover the marvellous world of science. The museum as it stands today has appreciably advanced from the initial humble stages of planning and development, when the exhibits were mainly the various products from industries in and around Bengaluru, along with models of historic machines that revolutionised technology. With gradual additions, it has grown to house exhibits across five levels that tell fascinating stories of science, technology and industry.

VITM is the only museum in Asia which has a full-scale replica of ‘Kitty Hawk’, the aeroplane built in 1903 by the Wright Brothers. This model was constructed within the museum by its staff with technical support from the NAL. 39


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he collection of artefacts at VITM procured from industrial houses and dioramas of the industrial processes aim to make clear the stages of perpetual improvements through which technology and technological products have evolved from the dawn of the age of machines to their present forms. The working, interactive, particitatory and immersive exhibits further enhace the understanding of scientific principles and processes. A majority of exhibits are interactive, exploratory and immersive in nature. Absent are the admonitory signs common in a museum that tell people not to touch the exhibits or not to talk. The catch words in VITM are: Push, Pull, Observe, Touch, Listen, Feel and Interact. These participatory processes are deemed very efficient and invaluable in science pedagogy. Visitors explore the museum at their own pace, indulging in experience-based exhibits which explicate the world of breakthrough ideas and cutting-edge science.

MG Steam Locomotive, manufactured by Dubs & Company, Glasgow, United Kingdom in 1888, is on display at VITM.

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Tandem compound jet condensing horizontal steam engine manufactured by Marshall Sons & Company Ltd, Gainsborough, England in 1926

The aesthetically designed interactive exhibits in the galleries provide visitors with a unique experience, taking them through the many stages of wonder: curiosity, exploration and rediscovery. The press of a button, the pull of a lever, a gesture of the body - such actions activate the exhibits and numerous presentations. Scientific and technological principles unravel in an easyto-understand manner enabling visitors to appreciate the application and utility of various technologies. How satisfactory it is to hear the delighted trill of laughter, to see the awe in the eyes, and sense the dawning of enlightenment in the visitors! Surely, it is this sense of fulfilment that feeds the passion of the museum staff.

Outdoor Exposition Let us begin our tour of the museum with the outdoor exhibits. The visitor’s eyes are drawn to the exhibits of different eras of industrial growth that dot the grounds of the museum. The Archimedes Screw and a graded Sun Dial are representatives of the early human attempts to ease labour and measure time. The three locomotives, the Southern Mahratta Railway’s Meter Gauge Engine of 1888, Stationary Steam Engine made in 1926 and a Portable Steam Engine, take the viewers to a bygone era of motive power. The Reaction Turbine of a hydroelectric generator displays the conventional technology 41 of electricity production.


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HF-24 ‘Marut’ jet fighter aircraft designed by the HAL, Bengaluru in 1961 is on display at VITM.

The star attraction is the 52.07 ft long HF24 ‘Marut’, the first jet fighter-bomber aircraft manufactured in independent India by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru.

The Engine Hall

Indoor Exposition

Over 50 exhibits arranged across 1000 sq m explain the evolution of mechanisms, machines and devices that form the very foundation of modern technology.

There are eight galleries spread over five levels of the museum: ‘Engine Hall’, ‘How Things Work’, ‘Electrotechnic’, ‘Fun Science’, ‘Space – Emerging Technology in the Service of Mankind’, ‘Biotechnological Revolution’, ‘BEL Hall of Electronics’ and ‘Science for Children’.

Before simple tools and machines were invented, work was done through muscle power of humans and animals. Later, wind and water power were used to turn turbines and generate energy. Aesthetically rendered working dioramas bring visitors closer to such facts.

Three special exhibits that further enhance a visitor’s experience in the museum’s galleries are: The Dinosaur Enclave, Science on a Sphere and the Wright Brothers’ Aeroplane along with a Flyer Simulator.

‘The Engine Hall’ is an imposing space, and as its name indicates, this is where a visitor gets to see the inside of an engine and its several prime movers. This interactive gallery is all about engines, motions and transmissions, and showcases various absorbing concepts of automobile engineering. An eye-catching exhibit is a giant energy ball system that stretches up to a height of two

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A view of the Engine Hall.

storeys. It demonstrates the principle of transfer of energy from one form to another as the balls travel through the overhead metal tracks. Moving endlessly through cycloid, rectilinear, curvilinear and various other paths, the balls demonstrate the predictability and precision of mechanics. They move over a roller coaster, looping a loop and bouncing high to be caught by a basket - this fascinating sight best explains the principle of conservation of energy.

Internal combustion engines are explained through real and animated exhibits. The Star 5-cylinder engine or radial engine is a reciprocating type internal combustion engine, in which the cylinders point outward from a central crankshaft like the spokes of a wheel. It resembles a stylised star when viewed from the front, and hence, is called a ‘Star Engine’. The radial configuration was very commonly used in aircraft engines before turbine engines became predominant. On display is an actual 9-cylinder engine.

Dr. S Chandrasekhar, eminent astrophysicist and Nobel Laureate (1983) praised VITM during his visit in 1970.

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The Avon - 203 engine is primarily used in military jets and was gifted to VITM by Rolls Royce, UK.

Children explore various scienctific principles in the ‘How Things Work’ gallery with scaled up exhibits like hand-pump, ball-point pen, camera and many more.

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How Things Work ‘How Things Work’ is an addendum to the Engine Hall. Six classical simple machines of the Industrial age defined by scientists of the Renaissance period are on display. These interactive exhibits include the Pulley System, Gears, Levers, Inclined Plane and Wedge, Wheel and Axle, and Screw. These exhibits amply demonstrate the march of progress in machines and make visitors aware of the evolution of workaday machinery tools and systems. Other exhibits showcase the application of simple machines that changed human life by reducing effort, enhancing delivery time and increasing productivity. 45


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School boys are fascinated by the Columbian Printing Press.

The amazing, but simple principles behind the working of objects like a ball point pen, a zipper, and a lock and key keep visitors engrossed. Through modern times, while advanced machines have evolved many times over in terms of speed and efficiency, however, their fundamental working continues to be based on the same simple machines and their principles. The exhibits in the gallery - weighing machines, brakes and bearings, mechanical measuring instruments, seat belt mechanisms, handoperated printing press - and many other artefacts stimulate the mind of the visitor. 46

Zip! The mechanism of the zipper


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A specially designed App ‘VITM Dino’ brings the Spinosauraus alive on smart phones.

Dinosaur Alive Young and old alike throng to take pictures of the Dinosaur enclave and to hear the dino roar. ‘Dinosaur Alive’ is an animated replica of a Spinosaurus; this creature from the pre-Cretaceous period is recreated here in its surroundings. The pneumatically operated dinosaur model can move its head, hands and tail, roll its eyes at the visitors, and of course, let out a convincing roar. Spinosaurus is considered among the largest of all carnivorous dinosaurs, with a length of 15m or more. The display was opened in the museum on December 15, 2001 and re-located and upgraded with the ‘VITM Dino’ App on July 28, 2014.

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Electrotechnic

modes of electricity generation, electrical safety measures and other such concepts.

While huge machines of the early era of automation that worked on steam and fossil fuels are displayed on the ground floor, the focus here shifts to the discovery, production and applications of electricity which define and automate the present age.

The ‘Electrotechnic’ gallery houses a second generation computer as well. The different generations of computers with their defining technology and milestones in electricity are explained in an interactive platform.

Over 63 exhibits, spread across a floor area of 700 sq m, explain various concepts of electricity and magnetism including the fundamental laws of electricity, Ohm’s law, Oersted’s experiments, static electricity, Faraday’s laws, electric cell, and

The ‘Spark Theatre’ show enthrals the visitors through various scintillating live demonstrations. A fluorescent lamp gets illuminated wirelessly while the Van de Graff generator transfers electric charges and gives a hair-raising experience.

Amongst the exhibits are a record of the commendable achievements in various fields of science and technology. Documentation is a cardinal necessity in taking forward a legacy, and VITM has made it a priority to document and celebrate science.

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The Plasma Globe at the Spark Theatre is a major attraction due to the fantastic high drama of sparks that result from the flow of electric charges.

Dr. MS Swaminathan, distinguished geneticist, member of the Planning Commission of India and the architect of India’s Green Revolution, visited the museum in 1981.

Prof. Vijayalakshmi K

“A Chinese proverb says, ‘I hear, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand’. This is the motto of this museum”, says Prof. Vijayalakshmi K, Associate Professor, Department of Medical Electronics, BMS College of Engineering. “Some of the models in Electrotechnic are based on sound, optics and perception and the experiments give a wider perspective. I encourage my engineering students to visit this museum and it inspires them to make models like analogue electronic circuits and linear integrated circuits”.

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Fun Science Located on the first floor, this gallery is a world of boundless curiosity and fun. True to its name, this space offers a fun-filled experience for boisterous children and their encouraging parents. Several interactive and participatory exhibits with infographics are spread over an area of 700 sq m. The gallery’s premise is that a curious mind enjoys learning, and these exhibits add a large dose of ‘edutainment’ for people from all walks of life. The ‘Fun Science’ gallery has on display exhibits on sound, optics, fluid mechanics, mathematics and perception. Through interactive exhibits that surprise, excite and entertain, people learn the principles of physics and mechanics in a simple way.

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For example, wave your hands in the air and hey presto, you can hear music. This section is an undoubted hit, as kids keep coming back to create veritable symphonies! Hush; here is a Whispering Dish, there a Head-On-a-Platter! Lissajou’s figures form never-ending curves and ellipses. There are square wheels, conic sections, optical illusions, chaos and order, rising bubbles in gel, floating ball, smoke rings, a tornado and more! All these exhibits pose a challenge to the visitor’s wits even as they explain perception, mechanics, air pressure and the Probability theory. The advanced optics of the Digital Theatre which screens movies in 3D is a riveting experience; this is a major crowd puller in the ‘Fun Science’ gallery.

Children create Lissajou’s figures in the ‘Fun Science’ gallery.


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(L-R) The Infinity Well and Whispering Dish are major attractions in the ‘Fun Science’ gallery.

Dr. HR Bharadwaj, former Governor of Karnataka, applauded VITM’s efforts to cultivate an interest in science among youth.

Dr. Raghavendra Gadagkar, distinguished zoologist and President, Indian National Science Academy (INSA) visited VITM in 1998. 51


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Space Technology The ‘Space – Emerging Technology in the Service of Mankind’ gallery features various aspects of aerodynamics, astronomy and the history of space exploration with special emphasis on Indian Space Programmes. Opened in June 1999 with 55 exhibits displayed over 700 sq m, it offers glimpses of

the achievements in space technology, space science and space application, and landmarks in space exploration. VITM celebrated the historical event of India’s first mission to Mars by curating a special exhibition titled ‘Mangalyaan – Mission to Mars’. LAUNCH OFF! One can take a virtual tour of a rocket launching station and witness the entire process of a rocket launch.

Dr. UR Rao, former Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), visited VITM in 2005.

Dr PS Goel, former Director, ISRO Satellite Centre, appreciated VITM during his visit in 2005.

Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, Indian Astronaut, visited VITM in 1999.

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Models of India’s satellites & rockets and of Mangalyaan, the Mars Orbiter Mission on display in the gallery.

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Biotechnological Revolution From the infinite expanse of space to the life-defining minuteness of a cell, the galleries in the museum capture them all. Keeping pace with the path-breaking human genome project, a new gallery on ‘Biotechnological Revolution’ was opened in January 2003.

sequencing, cloning, and applications in food, agriculture, industries and pharmaceuticals.

The Restriction Enzyme and Gene Splicing process is explained in elementary terms and a game simplifies the complex process of DNA fingerprinting and explains that DNA never lies. Visitors find it engrossing to play by identifying the parent of a child on the basis of DNA fingerprint A giant DNA model welcomes visitors to the similarities. gallery and offers a foretaste of the wondrous scientific realities awaiting to be discovered. On display are classical original DNA sequencing Starting from the fundamentals of cell theory and machines and a live demonstration corner to biology, the interactive exhibits here take visitors observe DNA strands. through the history of biotechnology - genome

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Displays include the model of a cell, photosynthesis, agriculture, livestock and interactive exhibits to gauge the colour of the eyes and hair. The bio quiz corner is a favourite among school and college goers.

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‘BEL Hall of Electronics’ reinforces VITM’s effort to collaborate with industries.

TN Chaturvedi, former Governor of Karnataka, praised the museum at the inauguration of ‘BEL Hall of Electronics’ in 2004. 56


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BEL Hall of Electronics Located on the third floor, this is the first gallery in the country that allows visitors to understand the intricacies of electronics. It has immersive exhibits showcasing the digital age where fast evolving technologies have extensive impact on communication, medicine, virtual reality and entertainment. The ‘BEL Hall of Electronics’ at VITM was set up with the support of Bharat Electronics Limited to mark its golden jubilee and inaugurated on June 29, 2004. The gallery spreads out over an area of 700 sq m.

the Virtual Reality section, and all the way to the application of digital electronics in defence and imaging technology, it is a wonderland of technology. One of the most innovative live exhibits in this gallery is the Telemedicine Corner, where visitors can consult and interact remotely in real time with doctors of renowned hospitals directly from the museum gallery through V-SAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) technology. The first such exhibit in India, the Telemedicine Corner has proved immensely beneficial and instances abound of visitors who were wrongly diagnosed earlier and received proper counsel here.

The gallery has several interactive and participatory A big draw for visitors in this gallery are the large exhibits to explain basic electronics and its practical screen Electronic Theatre and the ‘Robo Show’. applications. From the imposing component tree at the entrance to the digital board, the chip manufacturing plant, an electronic circuit board,

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The ‘Science for Children’ gallery, opened on April 30, 2007, displays fascinating and interactive exhibits for young children to play and learn science. A beautiful mural of coloured beads welcomes tiny tots to a vibrant world of fun and enjoyment.

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Science for Children

capable of figuring out how things work. VITM has designed and provided many such exhibits A separate section for children holds fast the in this gallery to sustain and quench a child’s curiosity of young minds and nourishes their natural inclination to learn. exploratory nature. ‘Catch them young’ is the motto here as the museum seeks to mould the Everything here is fun and exciting for a child minds of the children and hone their thinking to who can pretend to be an animal or play with look for realistic explanations to everything that building blocks, make realistic sounds of nature, mix colours and peek inside the human body. goes on around them. The whole range of activities make children Specially catering to children in the age group aware of their senses of smell and touch. of 3 - 10, this gallery engages them in science activities that are full of fun and follows through The highlights of the gallery are the Giant on the museum’s vision of popularising science Piano over which children can dance to create in an informal way. The entertaining exhibits music, and the Virtual Game area which enables make children understand natural phenomena children to compose music on their own. A mirror maze challenges kids to figure their way and scientific principles. out of it. With myriad attractions to engage Children are curious by nature and left to the attention of kids, the ‘Science for Children’ themselves with the right objects, they are quite gallery at VITM is on top of the parents’ list of weekend outings.

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Special Exhibits: Science on a Sphere How about a digital dance? A fantastic series of images are created by planetary data of high resolution satellite images and videos, animated images of atmospheric storms, fluctuations in ocean currents, effects of climate change and other complex environmental processes. No visitor can miss this captivating show!

Combined with narration and supporting immersive visuals, ‘Science on a Sphere’ is an innovative, powerful and immersive teaching tool for informal education about earth sciences, climate change, astronomy and the impact of human activities on the planet. VITM could show occurrences of major natural disasters such as the progress of the cyclone Hudhud while it hit the coasts of Visakhapatnam and the recent Nepal earthquake in almost real time.

‘Science on a Sphere’, developed by the National ‘Science on a Sphere’ mesmerises audiences while Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spreading the key message of conservation. (NOAA), USA and installed in VITM, is the only one of its kind in Asia.

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The Wright Brothers’ Aeroplane Marking the momentous breakthrough that allowed humans to fly, a full-scale replica of the ‘Kitty Hawk’, the Wright Brothers’ aeroplane, was fabricated by the museum’s exhibit team with technical support from the National Aerospace Laboratories. The replica was installed in VITM on December 16, 2003 to commemorate the centenary of the successful flight of ‘Kitty Hawk’ in North Carolina on December 17, 1903 by Wilbur and Orville Wright. VITM is the only museum in Asia to have a full-scale replica of the plane. A star attraction is an original piece of wood used in the ‘Wright Model E’, the single propeller aircraft flown by the Wright Brothers in 1913. Seen on either side of the plane are realistic mannequins of the Wright Brothers sculpted by renowned local sculptor Kanaka Murthy, who appreciated the experience of working with the museum. Another first is the ‘Kitty Hawk’ Simulator, which allows visitors to enjoy a virtual experience of flying the Wright Brothers’ Aeroplane in the same weather conditions that they had flown in on December 17, 1903. This exciting recent addition is a part of the special activities during the Golden Jubilee year.

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Visitors enjoy a virtual experience of piloting the ‘Kitty Hawk’ at the flight simulator.

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VITM has developed and hosted prestigious travelling exhibitions such as (clockwise from top left) an exhibition about the life of Sir MV, Science of Sports and the Effects of Radiation. Prof. Svante Lindqvist, Director of the Nobel Museum at the inauguration of the exhibition on ‘Nobel Prize - Cultures of Creativity’.

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Temporary & Travelling Exhibitions

The museum organises several temporary exhibitions on current topics of Science and Technology. In the past, it has held exhibitions on topics such as Light, Food & Nutrition, Bird Flu, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Technology in the Service of the Disabled, Transits of Planets, Indian Space Mission, the Nobel Prize, Eclipses and several others. Apart from its permanent galleries, VITM has developed several travelling exhibitions such as The World of Astronomical Observatories, Eye in the Sky, Nanotechnology and many more. These received acclaim for thorough coverage of the subject, ingenious and interactive exhibits and attractive presentation.   The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions on various topics developed by other units of NCSM such as, Science of Sports, Giants from the Backyard, Chemistry and many more.   In 2006, VITM was the sole museum in India, to host the prestigious exhibition ‘Nobel Prize Cultures of Creativity’ in association with the Nobel Foundation, Sweden, to commemorate the centenary of the Nobel Prizes. The museum hosted a travelling exhibition on the Large Hadron Collider in 2012.

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Events & Activities While the galleries reverberate with the sounds of awe and joy from visitors, there is an energetic thrum from the varied and vibrant activities in other parts of the building. Workshops, training programmes, travelling exhibitions, hobby classes, science camps and fairs occupy routine space in VITM’s calendar of events, along with science shows and demonstrations – the latter are in dual versions, catering differently to students and to the general public, and are a judicious mix of fun and edutainment. The museum holds commemorative programmes to mark milestones in science and technology, and marks major events like National Science Day, International Museums Day, Engineers’ Day, National Technology Day and World Earth Day. All these activities bring science closer to the public in general, and to students in particular.

VITM is a beacon of science and rational thought.

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Mobile Science Exhibitions

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he arrival of these buses is greeted with much excitement when they reach different destinations such as schools, municipal offices and village fairgrounds. The first Museo Bus with 24 working exhibits on the theme ‘Water – the Fountain of Life’ was flagged off on April 2, 1970 and the bus travelled through the length and breadth of South India. Since then, VITM’s Mobile Science Exhibition has been taking science to the doorsteps of people who live in rural areas or interior regions, without adequate access to science information. The Museo Bus carries different exhibitions on themes relevant to the rural populace. These exhibitions are curriculum-based and supplement school education, while offering nonformal education to the public at large.

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HAM - Amateur Radio

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n the Seventies, thanks to the HAM radio station that was set up in the museum, amateur radio became a rage among kids and adults in the city. VITM conducted exams that proffered HAM Radio Operator’s Licence and the extremely popular jamborees created a wide community of HAM radio hobbyists. Several HAMs who operate in the southern region were trained at VITM and to this day, many of them volunteer to establish communications during natural disasters when other forms of communication failed.

HAM was a popular hobby among people from all walks of life; actor Charuhasan proudly identifies himself as a HAM.

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In the early days, HAMs built all the equipment required to set up the station from surplus electronic components available in the junk market. Commercial equipment was later bought to supplement the station.

The HAM station is a proud possession in Ravi Shankar’s home.

“The whole process of amateur radio right from the beginning was to study the wave propagation condition. The signal depends upon several criteria like season, sunspot activity, solar flares and others. Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) used to set up HAM stations during science fairs organised by the museum for demonstration and communication. It was felt that a permanent HAM station could be set up at VITM for which BEL provided all the spares and equipment. Thus, the HAM Radio station became operational and started to coordinate with other centres/museums across the country for setting up more such facilities” said RJ Marcus of VITM who was primarily responsible for HAM operations (call sign VU2VTM).

“The receiver could be just a few km or even thousands of km away, sometimes across the globe. There was one thing common in our QSO (conversations) as all of us had a common interest in Radio Communication; the QSO was all about reports of what equipment each used, the weather condition at the other location and so on. All these criteria affected his/her signal and yours too. We would make plans to come on air again at a certain time but it was never certain, as often we wouldn’t get the same HAM, but a new contact would answer back, from an altogether unknown location. The very idea that a small signal put out by you from your shack (station) could reach long distances and get a reply, would get your heart pumping harder soon as you hear your Call Sign (a unique Alpha-Numeric combination that is allocated to a HAM with the licence) from the other HAM, indicating that your signal has been heard”.

A HAM forever Ravi Shankar (call sign VU2INZ),  a Business Operations Manager at HP’s Printing R&D hub, trained in Morse code and got his HAM licence at the museum at the age of eighteen. “In those days before pagers and mobile phones”, he says, “there was a charm and thrill in building your own radio, and then, the mystery of finding a fellow HAM on air.”

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Participants at an engineering fair organised by VITM.

Education Extension Activities VITM supplements science education in the schools with programmes such as Science Demonstration Lectures, Hobby Centre, Sky Observation Programmes and Teachers Training Programmes. It also conducts, as an annual feature, the Southern India Science Fair, Engineering Fair, Students’ Science Seminar, Science Drama Festival and Science Quiz Contests.

Popular Science Lectures & Demonstration Eminent experts in various fields of science are invited to speak on topics of current interest. These lectures attract students and general public, stoke curiosity and add to the understanding of the problems, concepts and phenomena behind specific topics of science and technology.

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Museum professionals regularly present Science Demonstration Lectures on Liquid Nitrogen, Vibration, Science vs. Miracle, Mathematics, Chemistry is Fun and several other topics. Students and the public find these sessions educative and entertaining.

External Participations Apart from the several programmes within its own premises, VITM also participates in science and technology events that are developed by like-minded organisations and organises special exhibitions and educational programmes. The museum is proud to have participated in and won several awards at the prestigious Indian Science Congress over the years.


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The auditorium in the museum is used to hold conferences and workshops.

Science & Technology In Education A key function of the museum is to design programmes that stimulate critical and analytical thinking. This is in tune with VITM’s cardinal objective of imparting scientific spirit among students, teachers and general public. VITM opens the door for children to a wider knowledge and deeper understanding of science, offering them unique learning experiences that are beyond the textbooks and school labs. For teachers, it conducts training sessions to equip them with vital skills of developing tools and practices to communicate science in a more effective manner. VITM’s symposiums and workshops span an eclectic range of interests, ranging from short film making and sericulture to mathematics,

genetic engineering, medicinal and aromatic plants, tissue culture and other subjects.

Activity Clubs Kindling an enduring interest in science among students are the Innovation Hub, Creative Ability Centres, Vacation Hobby Centres, and Science Camps. The Museum Activity Club and the Innovation Hub offers membership to students, teachers, individuals, families, schools and corporates. Initiated in 1999, the Club offers incentives such as free entry to the museum, free access to the library, and special film shows on science for schools and colleges.

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Discovering the world of science

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VITM organised the first Techno Art Camp in the country in 1982, with the objective of creating a synergy of Science, Art and Culture. The camp was inaugurated by Jnanapith awardee Dr. K Shivaram Karanth, who left his favourable impression,“Today I had an occasion to witness the sculptors’ exhibition being conducted by this (VITM) organisation. The attempt to fuse technology with art is commendable. I was very much pleased to see the sculptures made by artists coming from all over the country during their 10-day workshop here.”

A Science Drama in progress 76


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(Clockwise from left) Popular Science Lectures at the VITM by eminent chemist Bharat Ratna Prof. CNR Rao, NASA astronaut trainer, Michelle Hamm and Padma Vibhushan Dr. Roddam Narasimha, distinguished aerospace scientist.

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Community Training Activities Over the years, the museum has undertaken several community training activities such as Glass Blowing, Candle Making, Bakery, Motoring Awareness and Electrical Equipment Maintenance.

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Innovation Hub Inaugurated on December 5, 2013, the Innovation Hub fosters critical thinking and practical problem solving skills. The hub provides an open platform and mentoring by experts to help youngsters and adults to bring out innovative products. The membership to the Innovation Hub provides them an opportunity to develop innovative projects and experiment with their ideas.

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Bio – Science camp Twinkle, Class 10, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Hebbal “I love Biology and here we do experiments which makes it quite fun and interesting. I want to be a surgeon.” Amith TN, Class 10, BML Public School, Bengaluru “ My mother is a Biology teacher and I like the subject too. I want to be a doctor.”

Mathematics camp Rishi B, Class 8, Sri Kumaran Childrens’ Home, Bengaluru “I like Mathematics and I want to understand it better. This camp has helped me clear my concepts. I want to be a scientist and work with electronics.”

Astronomy camp Spoorthy, Class 9, Cambridge School, Bengaluru “I had done the Physics camp last year and wanted to do something different. Here, I am building models of planets and they also showed us ‘Science on a Sphere’ which I found very interesting. I want to be an astrophysicist.” Pavan C, Class 10, Stracey High School, Bengaluru “I usually go to a cricket camp, but my friend was doing this, so I also joined. I am having a lot of fun – today we saw ‘Science on a Sphere’ and we are also learning to build planetary models. I am not sure, but I want to study Physics.”

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Inspired by VITM The museum has a far-reaching effect on students and it is a source of joyful satisfaction to VITM is that quite a few of them have gone to become achievers, mentors and teachers in the field of science and technology.

Vidya BS, Principal of My School, often brings her students to the museum. “I must have been 10

years old when I first visited VITM, and I later did a HAM course. The visits to the museum created a lifelong interest in science, it opened a new world beyond imagination”. She worked overseas in the aviation industry in the Quality Assurance and Planning Departments for several years, before returning to India and taking to the field of education. She says, “I find the museum to be the place for field trips and in-depth studies for school children. There are so many exhibits that cater to different interests of the children. The special shows that VITM conducts are of high-quality which expose even the adults to the latest developments happening in the world. The kids’ section is a fun place for learning, and is also ideal for a family outing.”

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“I owe a lot to the museum”, says Ramachandra Budihal, who was also one of the children who visited the many hobby centres at the museum to learn about electronic circuits, HAM radio, aero-modelling, among other subjects. “It influenced me to become an innovator later. Some of the interesting gadgets here like the machines in the galleries and many more inspired me to build a lot of machines myself as a child.” Ramachandra Budihal has designed robots that digitise ancient manuscripts of India and to protect its cultural heritage. He designed the first Telepresence Humanoid Robot of India and was awarded a Presidential honour in 2007.

R Sudarshan, an electronics engineer and the founder

of GLASS (a learning lab for children), was about seven or eight years old when he first visited the museum. “I still remember the excitement of pressing the buttons in the exhibits and seeing things move and buzz. By high school, I had become much more interested in science and started participating in the camps at VITM. I vividly remember being part of the hobby club that built one of the first optical reflector telescopes in the city.” Forty years later, he says, “The museum has become an even more integral part of what I do, because I bring children here to touch and feel science.” After a successful career abroad, Sudarshan returned to India and is engaged in independent research to develop more efficient methods of instruction and to make learning more enjoyable for children.“It is a privilege to live in a city that has a good science museum. This is really unique because it provides the entire spectrum of scientific and industrial innovation. It is a place where children can spend time again and again to strengthen their concepts in science. Each time I walk in to the museum, there is some aspect of science that becomes clearer to me and I see the same thing happening to the children – they love to be on the floors exploring science in their own way.” 83


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Chapter 5

Insights & Reminiscences From its inception, VITM has had the privilege of being mentored and steered by people of great learning and experience in the fields of industry and science.

VITM has been popularising science for half a century. 85


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empty building inhabited by pigeons. However, the industrial leaders of Bengaluru were not amused.

Dr. Saroj Ghose Former Director ~ General, NCSM

“S

cience museum movement in India owes a lot to industrial philanthropy. The first two science museums in the country in Pilani and Kolkata were set up with the financial support and generous gift from the House of Birlas. In Bengaluru, the support came from a conglomerate of industries, in the name of Visvesvaraya Industrial Museum Society, who raised enough funds, got the gem of a plot of land in Cubbon Park, constructed a building and had a grand opening by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

VITM was initially opened with temporary exhibits, mainly industrial products collected from different industrial establishments such as Bharat Electronics, Indian Telephone Industries, Hindustan Machine Tools and some other smaller industries. This resembled temporary industrial exhibitions, which are set up in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan from time to time. Soon, the exhibits were taken 86 back by the lenders, leaving behind an

That was the time when I first met late Mr. BN Gupta, the undaunted spirit behind the project in Bengaluru. Learning about the first major science museum of the country which opened for public about three years ago, and was thriving with activities by then, Mr. Gupta made up his mind to visit the Birla Industrial & Technological Museum (BITM) at Kolkata. He met my boss late Mr. Amalendu Bose, who called me to join in the discussion that lasted almost the whole day on the logistics for setting up a permanent museum, with support from BITM. Mr. Gupta did not stop there. He made several scouting trips to Delhi to parley with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), then the parent body of BITM. With an industrial and technological museum already functioning at Kolkata and the emphasis of CSIR on industrial research, Mr. Gupta argued for another industrial and technological museum, in the same line as BITM. CSIR had to agree. With the experience and expertise readily available at Kolkata, Mr. Bose along with Mr. RM Chakraborti, moved to Bengaluru with a team to set up Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum (VITM) as virtually a mirror image of BITM, in concept but not in contents. The exhibits in Bengaluru were of a similar nature as Kolkata but the subjects were different. Here, the emphasis was on local industries i.e. timber, paper and pulp, metallurgy and electro-technique for which Bengaluru had already become a power centre. The Museum was opened to public in 1965. That was the beginning of a long association with the industrial society of Bengaluru, which did not end


with the demise of Mr. BN Gupta. His mantle was carried by Mr. Gangadhara Setty and later by Mr. Panduranga Setty, to provide leadership as a member of the Executive Council of VITM. In Kolkata, we were given a domestic house, with all its limitations, to build a public museum. In Bengaluru, we got a ready-built building that was not exhibit-specific. This is something like the proverbial cart placed before the horse. From our third venture, the Nehru Science Centre in Bombay, we developed the concept of the exhibits first and then designed the space that would accommodate them. During the initial days, we felt unhappy with low floor height without any atrium for housing tall exhibits. Double floor height exhibit space was created much later while designing the extension wing of VITM. But in retrospect, I feel that the VITM building had a great advantage because it had large spacious halls without any partition, thus giving adequate freedom in display design. This was followed in the design of subsequent new science centre buildings elsewhere by the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM). BITM and VITM were set up as industrial and technological museums. Other institutions under NCSM, developed after 1978, are called science centres because of the predominance of interactive ‘hands-on’ and ‘minds-on’ exhibits. We had a lot of debate amongst ourselves at Kolkata and Bengaluru on possible change of name to science centre in line with the latest international trend. Consciously, we decided not to change the name and to hold on to the original industrial & technological character of exhibits with which these two museums

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were set up. In that sense, BITM and VITM still remain twins amongst other siblings called science centres. Throughout my term as the head of NCSM, I held VITM with high esteem for two specific reasons. First, its annual footfall of visitors almost touched one million; the building reverberates with enthusiasm of both local and out-of-town visitors including a large number of school children. Except the giant Science City of Kolkata which came up much later, VITM records the highest number of museum visitors all over the country. Second, its excellence in capacity building in exhibit development. Over the years, VITM built up its own exhibit development facility with a group of well-trained technical hands that excelled in industrial model-making to give support not only to its own new galleries that came up at regular intervals, but also for developing a network of new science centres all over the southern part of the country. Its support given to Nehru Science Centre at the initial stage can never be forgotten. I would remember with profound respect Mr. Amalendu Bose for giving true leadership and developing VITM as an institution of excellence. I remember with fondness the able support given to Mr. Bose by his followers Mr. RM Chakraborti, Mr. S Ramamoorthi, Mr. G Nagarajan and many others. I am not naming others who took up the leadership mantle after I retired from service, but they are all in my mind, as are the people at different levels of the pyramid down to the grassroots. All of them joined hands together to build up a legacy. VITM is a leader, with people 87 leading from the front.”


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Prof. G Padmanabhan Department of Biochemistry, IISc & Former Chairman Governing Body, NCSM

“I

ndian Institute of Science, Bengaluru has a special connection with Sir M Visvesvaraya who was a member of its Council and who played an important role in linking the institute with the Government Soap Factory. It is not surprising that IISc also has a special connection with VITM,which bears the name of this illustrious son of India. It used to be the convention that the Director of IISc would chair the Technical Advisory Committee of VITM and I did the same during my stint between 1994-98. Many scientists at IISc are closely involved in shaping the exhibits at VITM. Among the eight exhibition galleries at VITM, I was personally involved in shaping the gallery on ‘Biotechnological Revolution’ in view of my scientific background. I had the pleasure of being part of the inauguration of the Fun Science Gallery in May 2008 and Electrotechnic Gallery in April 2010 as Chairman of the Governing Board of NCSM. Apart from these galleries, there are a whole lot of other attractions of which I have felt that the Dinosaur Enclave with mobile app, Wright Brothers’ Aeroplane, Taramandal (inflatable dome planaterium) and 3D theatre are very popular. Historically the second organised science museum to be established in the country after Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, Kolkata, VITM, established in 1962, has played a role much beyond a museum for visitors and tourists.

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It has played a major part in propagating scientific temper and the culture of science amongst masses, especially children. The interactive exhibits at VITM draw the curiosity of youngsters and self -assess their intellectual reflexes. The extension activities to supplement science education in schools, Teachers Training Programmes and Popular Science Lectures with and without demonstrations are laudable. The innovative and fun programmes which attract students are the Hobby Centres, Sky Observation, Planetarium Programmes and Science Fairs. The programmes I personally enjoyed are the National Science Drama Festival and The National Science Seminars. I judged one of the finals of the National Science Seminar at VITM for high school students short-listed from all over the country. These teams along with their teachers were selected after competition at the Block, District and State levels. The quality of presentations by students was of a very high order. One can imagine the penetration of the message of science through such initiatives. I have always felt that NCSM is not just a museum, but a hub for informal science communication and propagation. It is acknowledged that students are not motivated to take up a career in science in India, based on the perception of parents that it is not lucrative. This need not be the case if science is used for innovative applications, apart from inculcating the spirit of independent thinking, which leads to societal uplift. It is not an exaggeration to state that NCSM plays a vital role in this endeavor of spreading the message of science and VITM is a jewel in the crown. I have witnessed the enormous effort that goes on in terms of understanding the scientific basis, the engineering principles and the physics involved in designing and making each exhibit in a gallery. These are standing examples of the spirit of ‘Make in India’ followed at NCSM in general and VITM in particular. The scientists, engineers and technicians who make and man the edifice deserve much better recognition in the country. I congratulate VITM for its glorious 50 years and wish an even more exciting journey towards its centenary.�

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Prof. RC Sobti Vice Chancellor Babasaheb Bhimarao Ambedkar University & Chairman, Governing Body, NCSM

“I

am happy to learn that Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technogical Museum is completing 50 years of service to the nation this year. On the occasion of Golden Jubliee, I extend my greetings and felicitations to all those associated with the development and management of the museum. VITM, the second science museum in India, named after the great engineer and former Dewan of Mysore Sir M Visvesvaraya, had adapted to the changing trends in science communicaton. The Management has played a vital role in building infrastructure for science museum and development centre in southern India. It has adopted an interactive approach and made science accessible to all through plethora of activities and by arranging outreach programmes in rural India. There have been continuous efforts in updating and modernising the museum from time to time. Recently added state-of-the-art-facilities like ‘Science on a Sphere’ and ‘Wright Brothers Simulator’ are the most attractive parts for the visitors. I convey my best wishes to everyone involved in maintenance and management of the museum and hope they will continue to keep pace with the changing global scenerio in the field of science and technology communication and contribute to the STEM programme of the nation effectively.”

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Dr. Siraj S Hasan Former Director of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, & Chairman, Executive Committee,VITM

“I

am delighted to note that the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum is celebrating its Golden Jubilee on July 27, 2015 and wish the Museum all the best on this historic occasion. It has been a great privilege for me to be associated with VITM and I have had the good fortune to see it grow from strength to strength. VITM is a major science museum in the country. It has played an important role in showcasing important developments in science and technology and enriching the lives of a vast number of people in the country. In its incredible growth trajectory over the past 50 years, VITM has presented many excellent exhibitions and new modes of display by adapting digital technology into museum exhibits. The setting up of the Innovation Resource Centre, Science on a Sphere facility and the Wright Brothers’ Simulator are fine examples of truly new initiatives in this direction. These are absolutely outstanding projects making a great difference to the lives of the people of India, particularly inspiring young people to take up science as a career as well as contributing to a fusion of science, society and culture. I congratulate the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum for all its accomplishments in the past 50 years and extend my heartiest felicitations to its staff. I am confident that the Museum, under the umbrella of the National Council of Science Museums, will continue to inspire and encourage young citizens through its multi-faceted activities.” 91


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Mr. IK Mukherjee Former Director ~ General, NCSM

“T

he first impression I had of VITM as a young curator, more than three decades ago, was of the high quality of workmanship in the exhibits displayed in the galleries. The rich and varied collection of artefacts was the other facet that I found attractive. I was also excited to see the large number of visitors coming everyday to VITM, making it one of the best known landmarks of Bengaluru at that time. It is a matter of pride that VITM remains so even today. I got involved in VITM activities as a part of a team developing satellite science centres in the early eighties,we had developed centres at Gulbarga, Tirunelveli and Tirupati. By this time, it was felt that VITM, that had been serving the society since 1965, needed a thorough make over as exhibits and displays were getting outdated in comparison to the new developments taking place in modern science museums and science centres all over the world. In 1997, as Director~General of NCSM, I launched a time-bound programme for developing new galleries in VITM, which would introduce emerging areas of science and technology. In addition, some old galleries were completely renovated. Soon, VITM attracted visitors with new exhibits on Space Technology, Biotechnology, Digital electronics and more. The most famous Science Museum in South India regained its glory with these new attractions and exhibitions on frontline topics in science and technology. The name VITM evokes immense respect among museum professionals. It is expected to continue as a great Science Museum in the days to come.�

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Dr. MK Panduranga Setty Business leader, Philanthropist, Founding member,Visvesvaraya Industrial Museum Society & Member, Executive Committee,VITM

“W

e had a dream of creating an institution that would take forward the legacy of the great son of Karnataka, Sir MV. Looking at the growth of the VITM over half a century, I am of the opinion that the late Mr. BN Gupta and other members of the Visvesvaraya Industrial Museum Society would be happy with the manner in which the museum has evolved. It is one thing to create an institution and another to guide it effectively. It is a matter of great pride and joy to me that VITM has fulfilled the vision of the founding trustees. It is at par with the best museums in other parts of the world. VITM has been a source of information in the field of science and technology. The activities and sessions in the museum have been increasing each year and are of great interest to students; they tell me that they would rather spend more time in the museum rather than in the classroom. The number of visitors is also increasing and has improved the scientific temper among the general public as well. The museum needs to expand to accommodate the number of visitors.”

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VITM, Bangalore 50 Golden Years


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Chapter 6

At the Helm The Director, curators and the staff of VITM are cheerfully and energetically engaged in implementing the museum’s mission of bringing science to the people and enthusing students to pursue science. VITM is a worthy example of a team with a ‘can-do’ attitude.

VITM offers visitors an unique interactive experience.

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We introduced the concept of astronomy through portable planetariums. The basic concepts of astronomy were introduced in the school system and later, we did several gallery presentations on current topics of interest to the younger generation. Mr. G Nagarajan Former Director, VITM

“I

started my career in this museum way back in 1965. Between 1978, when the NCSM was formed and 1992, 18 Science Centres were set up. I was a part of a senior team responsible for carrying out this operation. VITM took on the role of supporting all the Science Centres that were to come up under the National Council as well as individual states in south India. During my tenure as the Director of VITM, my team of curators and staff members initiated several new programmes, a major one being the Regional Science fairs for school students. The South India Science Fair brought the entire student community of the southern states together on a common platform to exchange ideas, to create and become aware about the importance of science as a career option. This inspired many students to take up science and technology as a career. We have examples of many students who participated in our hobby 96

centres or science fairs who have later taken up careers in science and technology and have flourished in life. We introduced the concept of astronomy through portable planetariums. The basic concepts of astronomy were introduced in the school system and later, we did several gallery presentations on current topics of interest to the younger generation. With the addition of the latest galleries on electronics and biotechnology, VITM is making a major contribution to the society at large and to the student community in particular. I want to congratulate all my colleagues who we have inducted into this profession and given them the support and training who are now performing much beyond what we expected of them.�


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“W

hen I joined the museum, additional exhibit halls had just been made available and the Engine Hall was being set up on the ground floor. One hall was developed to house the Fun Science gallery. The Fun Science exhibits are freestanding and can be added or removed easily. Bengaluru being the space capital of the country, a hall was developed as the Space gallery in close collaboration with the ISRO. The experts at the ISRO were more than willing to spend their time and energy, and helped in conceiving exhibits that would enable everyone to comprehend space technology and science. Raising sponsorships, developing new outreach programmes, hosting and developing some modules  for travelling exhibitions of the NCSM and being open to the introduction of new technologies have been very much part of the work culture of VITM.”

Mr. M Parvathinathan Former Director, VITM

Mr. Parvathinathan recalls interesting highlights during his tenure. A night at the museum “The doors of the museum are sealed in the evening and opened only in the presence of authorised officials. One night around 8, my colleague Nandakumar informed me that a visitor wanted to search the museum for his wife who was missing. We went over and opened the museum. We searched every gallery and every toilet in vain, even as the visitor kept on calling out his wife’s name. After about half an hour, his wife called him to say that she was at Majestic! (a shopping hub). Another day at the museum!” Just two holidays The museum is open on all days of the year except on Ganesha Chathurthi and Deepavali thanks to a school group from Mysuru. “I don’t exactly remember the year. One Monday, a very disturbed teaching nun from Mysuru came up to meet me. She had brought a group of children only to find that most places including the VITM were closed on Monday. The children had nowhere to go and were disappointed. I told the teacher that she could take the children around the museum but not all galleries would have power switched on. They were content to visit whatever galleries they could. This matter was brought to the notice of my seniors, and it was decided that the museum would be open every day except two days in a year. Since then, the maintenance of exhibits and cleaning happen without disturbance to the visitors.” 97


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Mr. KV Bhatta Former Director, VITM

“T

he museum is a hub of enthusiastic learning without stress and pressure. Almost all the galleries in the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum were replaced or renovated with new themes between 2000 - 2010. The gallery on ‘Biotechnological Revolution’ was created in 2002, replacing the older gallery on ‘Timber, Paper and Metals’. For the first time, a wholly sponsored gallery ‘BEL Hall of Electronics’ was set up in 2004, replacing the gallery on ‘Popular Science’. This was another milestone in the history of VITM. The ‘Science for Children’ gallery was renovated with a new theme in 2007. The ‘Fun Science’ gallery was also revamped with a completely new set of exhibits and a state-of-the-art 3D theatre in 2008. The most fascinating and popular exhibit ‘Dinosaur Corner’ with a robot model was set up and developed in-house in 2002. In 2003, the 98

museum obtained 50 unique original drawings from the Smithsonian Museum and the Wright Brother’s Aeroplane was reconstructed in house with the technical support from NAL. In 2005, the museum conceived, designed and fabricated a travelling exhibition on Astronomical Observation. In 2006, VITM was the only museum in India to host a special international exhibition from the Nobel Museum, Sweden, on the Nobel Prize, ‘Cultures of Creativity’ and in the same year, it created a travelling exhibition on the emerging field of Nanotechnology which was highly appreciated. Education is an instrument of social change, and satellites establish the connectivity making education accessible across vast geographical distances and in inaccessible terrain. In 2007, VITM became part of the VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) based Museum Network which has emerged as a powerful medium in science communication.


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Education is an instrument of social change, and satellites establish the connectivity making education accessible across vast geographical distances and in inaccessible terrain. In 2007, VITM became part of the VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) based Museum Network which has emerged as a powerful medium in science communication.

This supplements the curriculum with animation and the interactive popular lecture programmes transmitted through ROTs (Receive Only Terminals) at the Mobile Science Exhibitions in rural areas. Telemedicine through VSAT is another important programme that was started at the VITM. Bengaluru being the southern zone regional headquarters, VITM helped in the fabrication of exhibits and offered other infrastructural assistance to the satellite centres at the DSCs in Tirunelveli and Gulbarga and the RSC at Tirupati. Two new planetariums were built in Tirunelveli and Gulbarga. Life Science Parks and 3D theatres were made functional in all the three science centres.

The museum gave technical and infrastructural support, and assisted in the fabrication of exhibits at the Science Centres in Goa, Itanagar, Surat and Vellore, the regional science centres in Calicut and Lucknow, the sub-regional science centre in Kalimpong, the ONGC Golden Jubilee Museum, Dehradun, ISTRACT Museum, Port Blair, the SRSC-NESC Mauritius, Agricultural Museum, New Delhi, the Science Cities in Kolkata and Lucknow and Fun Science Exhibits, NCSM. I would like to conclude by saying that the popularisation of science will go on forever.

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I earnestly believe that VITM, like the legend in whose honour this Museum has been established, will continue to scale newer heights and continues to benefit the society for generations to come.

Mr. Shivaprasad M Khened

Director, Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai & Former Director, VITM

“D

uring my tenure as Director of VITM, we completed on turnkey basis three Regional Science Centres projects on behalf of the NCSM, at Dharwad, Coimbatore and Pilikula, the credit for which solely should accrue to the dedicated team of VITM. We also commenced upon another project the Sub Regional Science Centre and Planetarium at Puducherry that has since been completed. The year 2011 marked the 150 birth anniversary of the legendary Sir MV and it was an honour and privilege for VITM, Bangalore, to have been vested with the responsibility of developing a biographical exhibition ‘Sir M. Visvesvaraya: The Legendary Nation Builder’. th

This exhibition was very well researched with scores of archival information, content, visuals, rare photographs, working models, interactive multimedia, videos, original artifacts and memorabilia and a recreated period living 100

room of Sir MV, and was successfully opened to the public at VITM in September 2011. This exhibition was redeveloped and exhibited in the Hall of Pride exhibition pavilion during the India Science Congress 2015 at Mumbai and a richly illustrated catalogue was also published on this exhibition. The team at VITM was also privileged to develop another biographic exhibition ‘Ramanujan: The Man who knew Infinity’ on the legendary mathematician in 2012. We adopted a completely new curatorial approach in presenting this exhibition, which was very well received both by scholars and general public. I earnestly believe that VITM, like the legend in whose honour this Museum has been established, will continue to scale newer heights and continues to benefit the society for generations to come.”


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Chairmen of the VITM Executive Committee Dr. S Hussain Zaheer, DG, CSIR Prof. Satish Dhawan, Chairman, ISRO Mr. MP Birla, Industrialist Mr. A Bose, Director of Museums Mr. YN Gangadhara Setty, MD, Ramkumar Mills Prof. UR Rao, Director, ISRO Prof. S Chandrashekar, Director, Raman Research Institute Dr. H Sharat Chandra, Director, IISc Prof. CNR Rao, Director, IISc Prof. G Padmanabhan, Director, IISc Dr. TS Prahlad, Director, NAL Mr. Vijay Kumar Gupta, VP, Wipro Foundation Prof. SS Hassan, former Director Indian Institute of Astrophysics

: : : : : : : : : : : : :

October 1962 ~ February 1966 March 1966 ~ May 1967 June 1967 ~ December 1973 Ja n u a r y 1 9 7 4 ~ Ju l y 1978 August 1978 ~ November 1982 December 1982 ~ February 1985 March 1985 ~ September 1986 October 1986 ~ November 1990 December 1990 ~ October 1994 November 1994 ~ November 1998 December 1998 ~ February 2003 March 2003 ~ February 2007 March 2007 ~ till date

VITM Directors Dr. KV Srinath Mr. A Bose Mr. RM Chakraborti Mr. G Nagarajan (Officiating) Mr. S Ramamurthy Mr. G Nagarajan Mr. M Parvathinathan Mr. KV Bhatta Mr. SM Khened Mr. KG Kumar

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: July 1962 ~ January 1964 : February 1964 ~ December 1970 : January 1971 ~ June 1980 : June 1980 ~ December 1980 : December 1980 ~ October 1981 : October 1981 ~ November 1992 : December 1992 ~ April 2000 : April 2000 ~ December 2010 : January 2011 ~ January 2013 : February 2013 ~ till date


50 Glorious Years 1965-2015 VITM Stands Tall  

One of the most popular places for visitors in Bengaluru is the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, which gets over a million...

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