West indian culture

Victoria Town Hall in Sambalpur will showcase Western Odisha culture as a museum

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Sambalpur: The century-old Victoria Town Hall here will be turned into a museum by December this year to showcase the life, tradition and culture of western Odisha. It was recently renovated by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) at an estimated cost of Rs 1.24 crore. Work was due to be completed in July last year but was delayed due to the second wave of COVID.

INTACH, which has been given the responsibility of collecting the items for the museum project, is currently searching for them. “Renovation work on the Victoria City Hall building was completed about three months ago,” Sambalpur Chapter INTACH member Deepak Panda told New Indian Express (TNIE), adding that d Other work in the vicinity of the building in addition to the electrical wiring is in progress.

Among the items to be displayed in the museum are old designs of Sambalpuri sarees, traditional looms, ornaments and musical instruments from western Odisha apart from household items and items used in games in the region that are on the verge of extinction. Ancient artifacts salvaged from the area will also be on display in the facility. A loom has already been purchased for the future museum.

“We urged people to contribute to the museum. If they have an article or a piece of history, they can contact us. The museum will be handed over to the government in December this year. For the heritage building, kings, zamindars and businessmen contributed `9,417 in 1902,” Panda said.

The foundation of Victoria Town Hall, designed by JB Leven Thorpey, was laid in 1902. It was opened in 1904 by the Chief Commissioner of the Central Province, JP Hewety. It was originally called Victoria Hall, but was later renamed VSS Town Hall after independence. The British government, kings, landowners and businessmen in the region had contributed funds. Zilla School, Women’s College and the former Trust Fund College once operated from the building.

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