The museum that ought to have been the Chandigarh’s pride, lies neglected, instead, due to the UT administration’s apathy. Only a few know about International Dolls Museum located inside Bal Bhawan, Sector 23, and National Gallery of Portraits, Sector 17 B, as its visitors are a handful of students from schools and colleges.
Like all the other museums in the city, these museums are also crying for attention for want of publicity due to apathy of the UT administration that has failed to generate awareness about the same. Moreover, there is not much footfall of foreign tourists in these museums.
International Dolls Museum
A majority of the city residents attract ignorance about the existence of the dolls museum, which is a place worth visiting. As you enter Bal Bhawan and turn left, the doll museum welcomes visitors. There are 400 dolls of about 36 countries. All the dolls showcased are gifted by individuals or some institutions.
Established in 1985, the museum was renovated and repaired prior to the visit of UT home secretary Anurag Agarwal a year back. Agarwal had given ideas to procure dolls by writing to embassies of different countries.
The museum has splendid dolls and puppets gathered from all over the world, including Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Russia and Korea. It was set up in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Chandigarh with intent to entertain and attract children.
Depicting the evolution of dolls, a few dolls of Harappan culture, a barbie and a soft doll are on display. The museum also has a replica of a toy train and depiction of fairy tales through a series of dolls.
“From the past one month, the number of visitors has increased, following awareness camps by the UT tourism department in different schools and colleges of the tricity,” said museum staff. “The visitors are largely group of students from schools and colleges. On October 8, as many as 600 people visited the museum, while on October 9, till first half of the day, 170 visitors took a round of the museum,” they added. The staff added that the number of visitors used to be less a year back, but now the number has increased and a lot of students visit the museum.
Dolls adorned with bridal jewellery and trousseau from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and other states of the country are showcased at the museum. Dolls from all over the world, along with a brief description about the country — population and area, have been displayed.
In the middle of the hall, different stories are depicted through miniature dolls. The story of Cinderella, Snow White and seven dwarfs, life history of legends such as Gautam Buddha through tableaus, history of barbie dolls and puppets is also displayed in the museum. The dolls gifted a few years back by Himachal Pradesh irrigation and public health minister Vidya Stokes are also present at the museum.
National Gallery of Portraits
The National Gallery of Portraits set up in 1977 at Sector 17 B near the UT deputy commissioner office is also not a popular museum among the city residents. It showcases the struggle of freedom fighters and leaders to attain their dream of independent India.
The highlight of the gallery is the recorded voices of the great leaders of the country such as Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru. The gallery also depicts a film related to the freedom movement of India on every Sunday at 2pm.
There are more than 1,000 photographs and duplicates of original writings, ceramic murals, sculptures, books on freedom struggle and details of various historic events and incidents.