Wednesday 27 March 2013

The museum of wood

Bangalore is home to some of the most unique museums in India and some of them cannot be found anywhere else.
The galleries of the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, the exhibits of the Janapada Loka and the HAL aircraft and heritage centre are examples of such innovative museums.
Another such museum is the Woods Museum cum Interpretation Centre (WMIC) of the  Institute of Wood Science and Technology, which is located on 18th Cross in Malleswaram, Bangalore.
What sets this institution aside is that it not only has exhibits detailing the history of wood but it also is a centre that provides information to the people.
So this is a one stop wood centre where you can obtain  information and details of all aspects of wood as a material and importance of wood science and technology in the country.
This is one of the recent museums in Bangalore and it was inaugurated on January 4, 2012.
Popularly known as the WMIC, this is an unconventional knowledge house and this is what distinguishes the museum from being a mere storehouse of artifacts. One of the main aims of the institute was to set up such a centre to educate the common man on the science of wood. The institute holds that wood is not carpenter’s material and that it is man’s best friend and wood can be used to tide over the ecological crisis that is dogging the world today.
The wood museum gives us an insight from the origin of Earth to evolution of forests and trees to emergence of most recent trees.
The museum has several colorful panels and each of them takes the visitor into the fascinating world of wood.
The museum has several sections and each is devoted to different avatars of wood and wood making. A must see is the section on agencies causing biological degradation of wood.
The museum has a lot of information on wood preservation, processing and wood usage. There is information on how to arrive at the age of a tree by counting the rings.
Two large discs of teak in the museum are the museum’s USP.  One of the discs traces the time since British came to India till Indian Independence.  
The museum also gives us information on bamboo, its utilization and different forms. Among other interesting exhibits are a model showing how rural energy needs could be met by generating electricity from gasifying wood. There is also a large log eaten by many different kinds of insects.
There is a full section showing modern products of wood-Wood Polymer Composites, panel and engineered wood products.
Wood-polymer composite samples are also displayed.
Wood products made of plantation timber species- Acacia auriculaeformis and Acacia mangium like toys, artifacts and catamaran (Maesopsis eminii) are also attractively displayed in the museum.
The museum also has a section where spurious forms of wood are exhibited. The museum was set up at a modest cost of just Rs. 13 lakhs. Compare this cost to the crores that is spent on setting up other museums.
The museum hosts twenty varieties of trees in order of their weight. The lightest wood here is Balsa and the heaviest is Chundra. These are the woods that are used in construction business around the world.
The only other wood museum of note in India is in Dehradun.
Why travel all the way to Dehradun when you can see the wood museum in Bangalore itself.

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