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Manisha Abhay Nene

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)

Director (Galleries & General Administration)

Country: India

ITP Year: 2011


When Manisha joined the ITP in 2011 she was a Senior Curator at CSMVS Museum in Mumbai. She was in charge of the Art Section and responsible for collections management, documentation, research, education and publications. She is now Director (Galleries & General Administration) at CSMVS and has an MA in Ancient Indian Culture. Manisha’s research interests include decorative arts and textiles.

Most recently Manisha has been working on the going conservation of the museum heritage building. In last three years there has been a considerable amount of movement of collections. This has included moving the entire collection on the second floor of the building which consists mainly of European decorative arts and paintings as well as far eastern collection and Indian arms. In total seven large galleries were completely emptied for the purpose of major repairs to the galleries. The building conservation work is still on-going but Manisha is now able to work on the schedule for the reinstallion and reorganisation of all these galleries.

Manisha has co curated four permanent galleries at CSMVS: The Indian Textile and Costume Gallery, Himalayan Art Gallery, the Indian Metal and Decorative Art Gallery and the Indian Jewellery Gallery.

Manisha was also responsible for the loaned objects from 29 institutions for the India and the World, a history in nine stories exhibition; 215 exhibits of loaned objects were installed, including objects from the British Museum collection. Manisha also co-authored CSMVS’ textiles catalogue and contributed to the museum’s Research Journal.

She also supervises and guides in the conceptualisation of the exhibitions organised at the Children’s Museum and Museum on Wheel buses.

Manisha co-curated the Daman exhibition which focused on the theme of philanthropy. The challenges of Covid resulted in huge financial crisis, particularly for museums which are not supported by the government, it was a question of survival. At this time CSMVS introduced a unique scheme to Adopt a museum object or a gallery. There was a very positive response to these schemes and the exhibition was to highlight the importance and history of philanthropy in India and to express gratitude toward CSMVS’s supporters.

Manisha has authored the following publications:

A children’s book, in Marathi, on the subject of collective nouns based on the museum’s collection.
A Marathi booklet on proverbs in Marathi to coincide with an e-exhibition on the subject of food.
Conceptulised Barakhadi (a pictorial Marathi alphabet chart) based on museum’s collections.

She edited the new Museum guidebook in English and Marathi and worked on the Marathi translations of the text labels and audio guide for the international exhibition ‘Ancient Scriptures: India, Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Rome’.

She has also written articles based on museum collections in museum’s research journal as well as in a few outside publications.

At the British Museum
During her time on the International Training Programme in 2011, Manisha was based in the Asia Department and her partner placement was spent at Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives.

In 2011 participants were asked to develop a proposal for a small temporary exhibition using an object from the British Museum’s collections. Manisha’s exhibition project proposal was entitled Visions of Ganesha.

Manisha’s place on the International Training Programme was generously supported by The Charles Wallace India Trust.

Legacy Projects
In 2013 Manisha returned to the British Museum to transform her exhibition project proposal Visions of Ganesha into a Room 3 (Asahi Shimbun Displays) show. Manisha named the final exhibition From Temple to Home: Celebrating Ganesha and after it was displayed at the British Museum from February – May 2014 it travelled as a touring exhibition to Russell Cotes Museum, Oxford Museum, Cartwright Hall, The Bowes Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, The Horniman Museum and Brent Museum. The exhibition received over 500,000 visitors.

In November 2015 Manisha attended the ITP Mumbai Workshop Creating Museums of World Stories. The workshop was held at CSMVS and was attended by many ITP fellows from different years and countries, UK partners and British Museum Colleagues. Workshop delegates were split into groups of mixed nationality and asked to create exhibition proposals based on the concept of Your city and the world – examining how national and international stories are interconnected, through the lens of material culture. Manisha’s team from Delhi, Kenya, Mumbai, Nigeria, Jerusalem and the UK, chose Bristol and the idea of migration and invisible communities as their project.

In 2016 Manisha attended the Museum Association Conference in Glasgow with the ITP team and the fellows she worked with at the Mumbai Workshop. After the conference the group traveled to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery to begin working on their project and creating an online exhibition. The Bristol Online Exhibition was completed in 2018.

In 2019, Manisha took part in the ITP+ Course on Museums and Education held at CSMVS Mumbai which focused on the vital role museums can play in education, learning and social development. The workshop was attended by ITP fellows from India, Malaysia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe as well as UK partners and British Museum colleagues.

ITP Newsletter Publications
ITP Newsletter Issue 3 (2016), Reasons for celebration: Sanchayan: new acquisitions at CSMVS