News Brief

Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya: Digital Museum Provides A VR-Driven Helicopter Tour Of India's History And Future

  • A helicopter ride in a museum — sounds strange, but it is true and happening.
  • Arun Kumar DasMonday, July 4, 2022 5:09 am IST
    Prime Minister Museum.
    Prime Minister Museum.

    Thanks to the virtual reality (VR), the new age technology, a visitor to the recently-opened Prime Minister Museum in the capital can experience flying over Dholera Smart City, Dhola Sadiya Bridge, Chenab Bridge and passing through the Atal Tunnel and Zojila Tunnel on a faster pace.

    One can also witness the upcoming India’s first high-speed rail corridor Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project and 680 MW Bhadla Solar Park on the copter ride.

    VR is a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. The VR integrated helicopter ride experience lets visitors fly through the future development projects of India. There is smooth sync of the helicopter pod with the audio as well as the visuals on screen to achieve the immersive VR experience.

    Here, at this exhibit, the idea is to travel and experience the future of India in the upcoming times, beyond the 75 years, said Saurav Bhaik, chief executive officer of Tagbin. Tagbin is the company which has designed and executed the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya, India's first digital museum with state-of-the-art technology.

    Besides the helicopter ride, which draws maximum visitors, the museum has tools to allow people to click selfies with their favorite prime ministers and take virtual walks with them.

    There is a virtual time machine that recounts India’s nuclear journey and an automated pen to customise a letter from the visitor’s favourite prime minister in their handwriting.

    There is a room dedicated to Pokhran tests where the ground shakes depicting nuclear bombing and also levitating statues in the air for the visitors in the first-of-its kind museum.

    Receiving an overwhelming response, more than 50,000 tourists visited the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya in the last two months since inauguration.

    Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya represents the journey of independent India through the life and works of its leaders. The museum recalls not only the tenures of all 14 prime ministers but also India’s history and scenario during independence as well as India’s future in the years to come.

    The museum maintains a fine balance of audiovisual film content, graphic panels, personal objects, archival letters and documents, digital panels, art combined scenography, and interactive exhibits combined with technology.

    Helicopter ride.
    Helicopter ride.

    Tagbin took a unique approach of ideating and conceptualising the entire space. To start with, the narrative of the museum went through multiple rounds of discussions to decide upon various points like that what is it that the museum will showcase, how the galleries of prime ministers were to be structured, what should be the space allocated for each prime minister, the key events involved in each prime minister’s tenure and the overall message to be conveyed to the visitor through the museum.

    As a visitor begins his/her journey, the first wow element is the levitating Ashoka Emblem. This is a combination of technology and art where the emblem is floating in the air due to a magnetic field.

    As the visitor moves forward, he can see a waving flag above. This is a kinetic flag made out of 1,200 synchronised lights. The time machine exhibit lets the visitors travel back in time through India’s nuclear journey.

    The prime ministers’ galleries are broadly divided into five to six themes starting from their early life, political journey, making of a prime minister, significant works under their prime ministership, challenges they faced, their retirement and lastly later phase and demise.

    Tagbin CEO said: “We thought through on how we could make the prime minister galleries consistent without making it subjective. This was done by striking the right balance in the content and designing the spaces based on the achievements and the contributions each prime minister made to the nation and not merely by their tenures of office. All of these were defined in the initial brief which involved multiple brainstorming meetings.”

    The museum offers an engagement zone with various experiential activities and take-homes. This is the most interesting zone of the museum and gathers the maximum audience attention.

    With the exhibit “From the Ramparts of the Red Fort”, the visitors can get a live feel and see and listen to the historic speeches of all prime ministers at the Red Fort.

    Since the visitor on the journey is walking while absorbing information, one can see breakout areas at regular intervals for rest. Built across one lakh square feet the museum tells the story of 75 years of India, with two blocks, 43 galleries and content of over eight hours.

    Technology used in the museum is one of the best tools to communicate the stories as they offer an out-of-the-box experience to what museums generally offer. As do the takeaways.

    The new age technologies have been used in the engagement zone called ‘Anubhuti’ — a zone where the visitor learns by doing a task. The visitors become the centre of the museum where everything revolves around them and they participate, play and learn.

    For example — Anubhuti consists of exhibits such as “Walk with PM” and “Selfie with PM”. Visitors can take home a picture with their favourite prime minister or a recorded video of them walking with their favourite prime minister.

    The unique mix of technology to present historical narratives here is a breakaway from conventional museum displays. The logo of the Sangrahalaya signifying the rising hands of the people of India holding the dharma chakra has also been highly appreciated as a design concept. The levitating national emblem at the reception has gained special popularity.

    The museum is beyond borders and welcomes all. Tagbin has developed a multilingual audio guide system that allows the visitors to choose from 21 Indian and six international languages. This system is provided at the beginning of the visitor journey, and automatically syncs the audios with the exhibits as one travels, enriching the visitor experience along the way.

    The gallery of Lal Bahadur Shastri has personal objects like the charkha, with a story of how he refused everything else but kept this as a part of his dowry. The gallery on prime minister Indira Gandhi consists of a letter from a young girl wanting to know how to become the prime minister in the future, to which a handwritten reply of Gandhi is on display for the visitors to read.

    Visitors can gain knowledge and experience some of the most historic events of former prime ministers such as: The PCO pevolution from Rajiv Gandhi’s time, the Bharat Yatra, in the era of Chandra Shekhar, or the significant Operation Vijay from Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure.

    Some of the major displays of prime ministers’ personal objects include Lal Bahadur Shastri’s passbook, jail diary of Charan Singh, wristwatch of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Morarji Desai’s personal copy of Bhagavad Gita. All the exhibits have been approved by the families of the former prime ministers who were contacted for information and artefacts, as the initiative holds a moment of pride and happiness for the families.

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