International Museum Day 2020: Groove Gully, the travelling museum for kids

Suggesting a visit to a museum sometimes elicits responses like rolling of the eyes and an exasperated sigh. But it is an undeniable fact that museums remain a fountainhead of knowledge and when imaginatively curated, they’re a source of edutainment too. Today is International Museum Day, a reminder to the world that museums can actually educate and entertain. 

As and when the pandemic recedes, visits to the local museum may be unlikely with social distancing norms and restrictions on public gatherings. So today we’re turning the spotlight on a travelling Museum of Music that actually moves from school to school with an entourage of over a hundred musical instruments, musicians and content from all over the world. The Groove Gully museum was founded with the focus on educating, entertaining and ensuring long-term memory retention of concepts learned. The travelling museum typically spends three days at a school so that over 1000-1500 children can take their time exploring all the musical instruments, with the freedom to pick them up, play them and asking questions about them.

The three day curated experience has daily performances by musicians who actually play on the very instruments in the museum. While musicians perform there is content projected behind the performers that establish the historical, geographical and cultural context to the music and the instruments. The content is always customised so it ties closely with the school curriculum and makes the teachers job easier. The daily performances by musicians from diverse regions such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Panama, West Africa, Mexico etc give students first hand experiences they can’t find in text books or online. Long term retention in memory of the concepts being explained is a very important objective of the experience curated by Groove Gully. 

The large collection of instruments range from the rare Taus and Sarinda of Punjab, Kamaicha from Rajasthan, percussion instruments from remote villages of Meghalaya, shakers from Peru, Charango’s from Bolivia, Komuz from Krygyztan, tribal instruments from Madhya Pradesh besides the Tabla, Pakhawaj and Mridangam’s & Ghatams’s from the southern states of India. Rainsticks and Gopichand’s from West Bengal are amongst the most popular instruments with students. Typically on the first day most students can barely identify a Tabla from a Punjabi Dhol but by the end of the 3 day experience the nuances of regions within the country and their clear cultural diversity comes across quite clearly and is retained in students memory.

This is ascertained by regular quizzing besides Delhi school such as Shiv Nadar and Sun City School, of late even pre-schools have begun requesting for the museum to visit them to inspire their toddlers.The next stage of the Groove Gully museum’s evolution is a travelling Science Museum focused on Physics, Acoustics, Biology and Neuroscience which is ready to roll out when schools reopen.Founded by Jay and Bobby Chauhan, the advisory board has legendary vocalist and author Shubha Mudgal and UNESCO neuroscientist Dr Nandini Chatterjee guiding and mentoring it.

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