Have the varied eco-systems that cohabit in a habitat

Have fascination towards biodiverse
life forms. Keen on fathoming the conjunction the ecosystem operates in. Agog
about the varied eco-systems that cohabit in a habitat with diverse species –
biotic, abiotic, aquatic et al. The Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH)
in Mysuru, a one-of-a-kind down south is a living threshold in realisation and
observation of the nature’s exquisiteness’ and intrigues.

Located on the banks of
lake Karanji with a picturesque Chamundi hills in the backdrop, the Regional
Museum of Natural History was established in the year 1995 in the royal city of
Mysuru. Set up as an offshoot of the National Museum of Natural History,
Ministry of Environment and Forests, the regional centre is an added jewel to
the crown of the cultural capital of Karnataka. The museum offers a pervasive
insight into the biodiversity and a sundry of eco-systems spread over the
southern region of India, alongside the ecological relationships among the flora,
fauna and human species.

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Simulated
Exhibits

Spread over an area
spanning six acres, the museum houses numerous galleries and sections with exhibits
made up of judicious mix of specimens. On entering the museum, one is greeted
by a family of Elephants manoeuvring their habitat on a well-designed
terraneous platform. These are the wired elephant sculptures and impact
exhibits that garb a visitors’ attention, says S J Shrinivasan, senior exhibit
preparator at the Museum.

On moving in, one comes
across a ‘Discovery Centre’, a section with repository of specimens which the
visitors are allowed to handle, inspect and explore. Aptly described as the ‘Do
Touch Corner’, as part of the museum’s Touch, Feel and Learn (TFL) model
designed not just for children and differently abled, but even otherwise
offering a hands-on experience about the anatomy of vertebrates and others
magnificent species on display. There is also an artificially created “sand
pit” in place to help understand the marine environment and its intricacies,
besides a monthly exhibit corner. But, the most quintessential slice of the
discovery section is the skeletal of a 36-foot-long whale, with a scenic
storyline woven about the giant mammal and its habitat making it more vivid.

Additionally, the
discovery room also provides space for hands-on activity, where the visitor,
children particularly can get involved in painting, modelling and preparing of
animal masks and costumes. With a specially laid out laboratory corner, they
can even turn to be ‘young scientists’ for a day. 

Biological
Diversity Gateway

Various galleries under
the “Biological Diversity” section bring to the fore major eco-systems and
biodiversity of South India. Themes depicting the need for conservation and wise
use of natural resources are on display. Further, galleries presenting the
basic concepts of natural history, with a variety and   rich geological, plant and animal heritage
are exhibited. What is enticing, is the dioramic depiction of the Western Ghats,
its importance and impact on the climate and vegetation. The exhibits that
follow show several endangered plants and animals, alongside the geography and
geology of the region.    

Further, a section on
tropical rain forests reveals the colossal wealth of the rain forests and its
habitation by plants and animals through various themes such as insectivorous
plants, canopy levels, volant animals, camouflage, bright colouration of birds
and butterflies et al. An exclusive gallery dedicated to the wetlands and other
eco-systems are in place involving the mangrove forests, marine ecology,
riverine habitat etc. Also depicted is the sheer vastness and usefulness of
different shores and estuaries. More, a panel shows river Cauvery, from the
point of its origin at Talacauvery to its joining the sea near Poompuhar in
Tamil Nadu and the various landmarks’, cultural, biological and geological
aspects marked by the river.  A large
exhibit towards the end of the biodiversity section cautions against the destruction
of natural diversity, besides highlighting the need for conservation.

Life Thorough Ages and Outdoor Exhibits

 

The ‘Life Thorough Ages’ section
illustrates evolution of life over time and space. A walk-through tunnel leads one
to a throwback of eras – Phanerozoic, Cenozoic, Mesozoic and Paleozoic culminating
with the emergence of modern man.  Adding
to it, is a dioramic representation of ‘Jurassic Period’ which is popular among
the visitors.

Naturalistic exhibits of King
cobra, Nilgiri Tahr, Wild Boars, and many more are noteworthy, with exhibits of
Rhino and Bison on the cards. Wildlife photo exhibits fasted to the walls make
up for an interesting viewing. An in-house theatre at the Museum, with an
approximate occupancy of 100 (seats) organises films related to natural
history, particularly wildlife on a diurnal basis. The theatre can also be
pre-booked by those interested such as schools, nature and wildlife
enthusiasts, visiting groups, and forth. Films are screened from 12:00 to 1:00 pm
and 4:00 to 5:00 pm. Nonetheless, on pre-booking the schedule is subject to
change.  

The Botanical
Garden at the Museum is distinct offering the differently abled, specially the visually
impaired various benefits. Interpretations through personal means, Braille
labels and audio commentary helps them understand ‘nature and its diversity.
The visitors are also encouraged to touch, smell and feel the leaves and other
parts of the various medicinal plants and herbs available in the garden as part
of “Touch, Feel and Learn” live plant bio-resource activity for the visually
impaired.

 

On the list of
activities organised at the Museum, Dr. G.N Indresha, Scientist D & Head of
Office, RMNH, asserting said, “We (at RMNH) organize periodical workshops on
protection of the environment, preservation of wildlife and camps for students
and nature enthusiasts.” “Teacher orientation workshops, nature painting and
animal modelling, singing competition on nature, special programmes for persons
with disabilities and school students, and frequent films shows are also held,”
he added. 

 

 Dr. Indresha further stated, “Seminars,
workshops, symposiums and conferences on diverse themes and topics of ecology
and biodiversity in collaboration with the government and non-governmental
agencies are conducted at regular intervals and on important occasions.” 

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