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UNESCO Islamabad Workshop on the Documentation and Inventorying of the Collections at Taxila Museum

Taxila, 20-22 April 2017: UNESCO Islamabad conducted a comprehensive three day workshop on the Documentation and Inventorying of the Collections at Taxila Museum. The project, funded by the Swiss
Development Cooperation, aimed at enhancing the primary functions of Taxila Museum with a particular focus on upgrading the current collections inventorying methods at the Museum onto a digital database. The workshop also aimed to equip the Taxila Museum staff with the latest international best practices for collections management including condition reporting, cataloguing, object packing and storage, object handling and moving, object photography and environmental monitoring. Tools and equipment of international collections management standards were used during these practical sessions and provided to the Museum for continuing the documentation project.

UNESCO expert on museums management, Dr. Karen Exell conducted the training workshop with combined modules of practical and theoretical sessions. The practical sessions included demonstrations of actual Museum scenarios, which proved to be an engaging an immersive experience for all participants. Dr. Exell emphasized on the risk management of the Museum and highlighted that it is important to be able to identify the risks to which collections are exposed, which agents of deterioration are responsible and how risks differ and to be able to assess the relative importance of risks, in order to mitigate potential damage to the collections and allocate resources for collections care appropriately.

In addition to the Taxila Museum staff, museum professionals from around Pakistan were invited to benefit from this workshop. Museum professionals from Kasur Museum, Harappa Museum, Lahore Museum, National Museum (Karachi), Museums Association of Pakistan and departments of Tourism and Culture from Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan were among the participants for the workshops. The participants relayed their experiences and practices in their respective institutions during the discussion sessions and compared notes on how to develop and enhance their operational procedures.

The workshop at Taxila Museum was a success owing to the localized approach of the expert, Dr. Exell, who tailored the workshop components according to the needs of the Museum based on an initial needs-assessment conducted earlier in 2017. As the Taxila Museum staff continues works on cataloguing the collection on the digital database set-up by UNESCO, under the mandate of enhancing the primary functions of the Museum, UNESCO is developing educational outreach programs which aim to integrate digital and interactive interfaces and activities to increase gallery footfall targeted primarily at students.
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