It is a surprising and unique problem in India that the owners of some of the greatest art and artefact collections in the world - the Indian people - do not visit these collections, Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum in London, said on Thursday.
MacGregor was in Mumbai for the second annual museum leadership programme, a joint initiative between the UK museum and India's union ministry of culture, aimed at addressing the challenges facing museums in both countries and making museums more relatable to the public.
Last year, the London museum trained 20 officials from museums across the country and members of the Archaeological Survey of India.
This year, the British Museum will train officials at programmes hosted in museums in Delhi, Allahabad and London, with six Indian beneficiaries of last year's programme imparting some of the training.
“The Indian trainers will be able to give a better local perspective to the programme,” said MacGregor.
“This is very important as the museums of the western world and the challenges they face are quite different from those in India.”
Added Mahruk Tarapor, consultant with the British Museum and museum advisor to the government of India: "The programme has facilitated communication between Indian museum professionals, and formed a community that was non-existent before."
Other collaborations that have been part of the exchange project between the two countries include the popular exhibition Mummy: The Inside Story, which recently concluded at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj museum.
“This museum is excellent at engaging with schoolchildren, especially the disadvantaged,” said MacGregor.
“We are looking at taking their help to plan activities to attract children and schools in our museum.”