Following her recent visit to India, Prime Minister Theresa May has welcomed plans for the Science Museum in London to host a season of exhibitions and events next year dedicated to the people, culture and skills of India.
As part of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017-18, which will celebrate the vibrant cultural history of the two countries, the Science Museum plans two exhibitions, in autumn 2017, centred on the rich culture and history of innovation in India.
One exhibition is an ambitious and unprecedented survey of photography in India from the emergence of the medium in the nineteenth century to the present day.
The other will highlight the long tradition of scientific thought in India from the ancient past to the present day. It will look at the country’s expertise in observation, calculation and innovation, emphasising the importance of science in India as a way of understanding the world and creating a better society.
“This celebration of India’s rich culture and history of innovation is another clear demonstration of the close ties between our two countries,” Mrs May said. “I welcome the Science Museum’s aim to use its series of exhibitions during the UK-India Year of Culture to strengthen the relationship between British and Indian scholars and cultural institutions.”
The Science Museum is the most visited museum in the UK by school groups.
Elsewhere, the British Library will be digitising 200,000 pages of their South Asian archives. Two Centuries of Indian Print will be part of a major programme to make the wealth of Indian printed books held by the British Library dating from 1714 to 1914 accessible to anyone around the globe. Madame Tussauds – whose Bollywood figures are some of the most popular in London – has also announced its first Indian venture in New Delhi, scheduled to open in 2017.
Parent group Merlin is set to invest £50m in India over ten years, rolling out other UK favourites – such as SEA LIFE aquariums and LEGOLAND Discovery Centres – across Indian cities.
Two of the most iconic British texts will tour India as part of the programme. The British Library will showcase Shakespeare’s First Folio – the first collected edition of the Bard’s plays – and the 1225 edition of the Magna Carta. One of India’s premier museums – the CSMVS Mumbai – will tell the story of Indian civilisation in the context of world history using some items on loan from the British Museum.
The UK is already a big hit with Indian tourists. Last year saw a record breaking 400,000 visits to the UK from India and in the first half of 2015 Indian tourists spent £199 million during their stays