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Vaidehi Savnal

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)

Curator of Education and Public Programmes

Country: India

ITP Year: 2016


Vaidehi leads the Museum’s Education and Outreach Department through the Children’s Museum and Museum on Wheels initiatives and public programming, as well as the Post Graduate Diploma in Museology and Conservation in affiliation with the University of Mumbai. Vaidehi enjoys working on curatorial projects, interpretation and writing, and her interests lie in exploring the potential that museum objects and stories have in aiding the process of self-discovery and in promoting a sense of personal and societal well-being. Her role involves liaising and building partnerships with international and Indian cultural institutes through collaborative projects including exhibitions, research, capacity building and skill-sharing programmes.

Vaidehi has curated several exhibitions including Entwined: The Story of Humans and Animals, Aboard the Spaceship and Ancient Sculptures for children, and What’s in a Name? which displayed Shakespeare’s First Folio from the British Library. She has also co-curated the exhibitions Traversing Tibet: through the lens of Li Gotami and Early Photography and Archaeology in Western India with the British Library.

Vaidehi has recently been involved as a co-curator in the opening of the international exhibition Ancient Sculptures: India Egypt Assyria Greece Rome in partnership with the British Museum, State Museums of Berlin and the J. Paul Getty Museum. In what is a first in India and perhaps the world, the exhibition was curated by 5 women curators through a process of global co-curation along with colleagues from partner museums. This enabled a new approach towards research, interpretation and presentation where Indians have curated global collections for an Indian audience. The 10-month long display, also a first, enabled deeper engagement with educational institutions and communities, which is what Vaidehi’s team will focus on delivering in the coming months.

Vaidehi has authored two books, The Young Curators Handbook and A Mischief of Rats and other Collective Nouns published by the CSMVS Children’s Museum and has contributed to several national and international journals. She has delivered a TEDx talk exploring narratives of the exhibition India and the World: A History in Nine Stories.

Vaidehi previously worked as Assistant Curator (International Relations) and Lead for Education at the CSMVS where her primary role involved building partnerships and liaising with international and Indian cultural institutes through collaborative projects including exhibitions, academic and research projects, capacity building and skill-sharing programmes.

Vaidehi’s dream for museums of the future, is for all museums to be people centric. Whether it is collection care, curating exhibitions or conducting programmes, she believes museums work is ultimately to share with people, and make them feel more than just visitors. Visiting is time bound and transient. She feels that people should feel like they are an integral part of the museum and are stakeholders in their own way.

At the British Museum
During her time on the International Training Programme in 2016, Vaidehi was based in the Department of Asia. Her UK Partner Museum was Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Newcastle.

Fellows were asked to work with departmental mentors to develop a proposal for an Asahi Shimbun Display – a temporary exhibition in Room 3 at the British Museum, based around a single ‘spotlight’ object.  Vaidehi’s exhibition project proposal was Ajanta: Shifting Perspectives.

Vaidehi’s place on the International Training Programme was generously supported by the Charles Wallace India Trust and the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation.

Legacy Projects
In 2019, Vaidehi co-organised and took part in the ITP+ Course, 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 Malaysia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe as well as UK partners and British Museum colleagues.

ITP Newsletter Publications
ITP Newsletter Issue 4 (2017), Bulletin Board
ITP Newsletter Issue 5 (2018), Learning and engagement: India and the world: a history in nine stories
ITP Newsletter Issue 7 (2020), Global perspectives: Why should museums care about inclusion? If you cannot come to the museum, the museum will come to you
ITP Newsletter Issue 9 (2022) CSMVS: A Green Museum
ITP Newsletter Issue 9 (2022) CSMVS Centenary: 100 Years of Making History, 100 Years of Looking Ahead