In this two-part series ReReeti’s Tejshvi Jain interviewed two Indian collectors and their journey towards making their collections open and more accessible to the public. While one has recently opened a museum the other is exploring ways to reach out to the public through different interventions before building a physical museum. In this post Dr. Yogesh Chandarana, a practicing dentist talks about his journey of setting up a museum in Western India to spread awareness on oral hygiene.
Tejshvi : How did you come to be a collector and please tell us about your collections (time period,sourcing and significance).
Dr Yogesh : Collecting stamps on Dentistry was my passion since the time I became a dentist in 1975.Subsequently I was interested in history of dentistry and related articles. Since the last 3 years we began work on developing India’s first dental museum. The museum houses my collection for the last 40 years. It contains objects brought from all over the world as well as some given by senior practicing dentists. The idea for developing this museum was to keep a permanent place for creating oral health awareness among the masses. Inspire people to take preventive oral care from childhood to old age.
Tejshvi : Highlight 3 most significant recent acquisitions.
Dr Yogesh : The three recent acquisitions are Prophylactic toothbrush from 1885, Savon dentifrices GIBBS dental soap with case and refill and the Cone journal hand and foot portable lathe.
Tejshvi : What is your perspective on museums and what has motivated you to set up a museum to house your collections?
Dr Yogesh : Usually a museum is considered to be a serious historical affair, we have tried to make the museum a place where everyone finds something of interest. When I went to the USA in 2001 I saw the house on the Rocks museum which acted as an inspiration to me for developing something similar related to dentistry. The idea was to create oral health awareness among masses. The museum is housed in 1500 sq ft area above my dental clinic in Vadodara, Gujarat. The museum has been recently inaugurated in May 2016 and is open for general public. There is no entry fee. However prior appointment is needed.
Tejshvi : Will this be a private museum and are there any plans to partner with the State or other players? How is it funded? What is the long-term vision for this museum and what role do you see yourself playing?
Dr Yogesh : This is totally owned and funded privately, and we do not plan to involve any other players as of now. The basic aim of the museum stands to spread oral health awareness among the younger generation to start with and adults.
Tejshvi : Can you share some of the challenges you faced in the process of setting up the museum and how you overcame these? Who has supported you through this journey?
Dr Yogesh : I thank GOD for seeing me through this dream for me and I have been lucky to have the full support of my wife Dr Bhavna, son Dr Pranav and daughter in law Dr Shruti in shaping this dream. My museologist friend Mr Ilesh Vyas and team LALITA guided in giving the museum its present form.
Tejshvi : What is the approach (curation,display,outreach) to make this museum more accessible to the community?
Dr Yogesh : We have already approached schools in and around Vadodara and have started organizing field trips to our museum. After the museum visit the kids are given a small talk on oral hygiene methods and golden rules for oral health. The presentations are divided as per age groups. We are also planning to do a teacher training programme for school teachers as well.
Dr. Yogesh Chandarana is a practicing dentist since the last 40 years. He is a fellow of Pierre Fauchard Academy and International College of Dentists (U.S.A). He has been the president of the Indian Society of Clinical and Applied Hypnotherapy and a faculty at the M.S University Baroda.