The driving energy and the inspiration behind this museum, Dr. Bhavarlal Jain likes to project the museum as an experience zone. During various internal and external debates, the notion matured into a doting term, Gandhi Experience Centre. The implication kept on expanding and found its due place on the drawing board, as the conceptual framework and space planning got under way.
An implicit, unequivocal understanding was reached between all concerned that the thrust will be towards creating a lively, evolving experience out of the physical space. One should be moved by the experience as he moves through the experience; that became the chant. Also, that the physical space should mediate and help the experience–seeker catapult to the emotive space. This museum objective, when related with the central objective of GRF, to preserve for posterity Gandhiji’s legacy, translated into a clear understanding that youth would be the main target.
In doing so, care was to be taken so as not to create a demi–God out of Gandhiji. It was never intended to place Gandhiji on ever–higher pedestals of morality so that he becomes an unreachable and unattainable object of awe, no matter how dearly revered. Rather, it was to be deliberately attempted to project Gandhiji as an example worthy of emulation. Only then, would the visitor feel closely connected with Gandhiji and his life’s lessons. And only then, would the altruistic purpose of the effort be truly served. The aim could be best achieved by attempting a close encounter between Gandhiji and the visitor, engaging them in an imaginary yet almost–real dialogue without any human interface or intermediary. In that sense, the museum was to become a mere facilitator of this dialogue.
Towards this end, a few strategic decisions were taken. Firstly, it was decided to adopt a thematic approach to story–telling, not a chronological one. The content would not be structured as if a story book was being read out from front to back. Rather, it would be presented as a thematic collection of episodes from Gandhiji’s life.
Secondly, it was decided to utilise new–age technologies like tactile and gesture technologies for story–telling on one hand, while resorting to timeless communication means like surface art including paintings and 3D murals, hyper– real 3D models, and conventional audio–visual media like films and layered presentations, on the other hand.
Thirdly, the primary focus group was chosen as the youth, as noted earlier.
We sincerely hope that in its final form and spirit, the Gandhi Experience Centre, nay, the museum, has been able to achieve its primary objective – that of presenting the Gandhi Story in a manner that the main target, the youth, finds it engaging, appealing and worth following in an ‘hands–on’ environment, in the words of the museum contractor.
In short, we hope that the effort will help usher Gandhi renaissance.
There is a difference of just one letter between the words ‘impart’ and ‘impact’. In creating this experience centre, all that we seek is that the ‘r’ of impart be replaced with the ‘c’ of impact, in–so–far as dissemination of Gandhiji’s life–lessons is concerned.