Not many cities in India can boast of museums as diverse as those in Bengaluru.Apart from offbeat ones dedicated to wood science, the human brain and calligraphy in Bengaluru, a little away at Electronic City located are permanent exhibits that trace the global evolution of brands and packages over the last century .The not-for-profit Manjushree Packaging Heritage Museum turns 15 this year. The occasion is being marked with a complete overhaul to the 1,200sqft space that displays 3,000 exhibits from around the world.
“The new 2,500-sqft space is coming up near the old one and is being recreated at a budget of `1 crore,“ said Vimal Kedia, managing director, Manjushree Technopack, a packaging solutions company . “Currently, exhibits are placed in no particular sequence. With professional curators on board, the new interactive museum will have advanced displays, lighting and a narrative on packaging history .“ It is slated to be open to the public by year-end.
Started in 2002 purely out of Kedia’s passion for packaging technology, the museum is inspired by the computer and software museum at the Infosys campus in Electronic City . It is one-of-its-kind in India, with only two others like it the world over. The oldest is in Notting Hill, London, while the other is in Heidelberg, Germany .
It consists of vintage tins that packaged FMCG products like biscuits, suitcases, baby food, perfumes and alcohol. A section traces the branding and design evolution of the cola bottle -from the time they were in marble cases and levered ceramic caps to today’s crown and plastic caps. There are old Parry’s and Nutrine tins, Philips radios and chocolate containers dating back to the 1970s.
One section traces the evolution of musical instrument packaging while another pre sents cigar containers. The oldest collectible, Kedia said, is over 100 years old. “It is a glass bottle made by the US-based packa ging company Ball Corporation in the early 1930s.“
Exhibits have been sourced from over seven countries, including South Africa, Britain and Cuba.
Unlike regular museums that are frequented by students, history buffs and tourists, this space is filled with branding and marketing professionals wanting to make sense of transformations in their industry.Most executives are from consumer companies like Hindustan Unilever, Nestle, Del Monte, Pepsico, Parle, Amway and Tata Global that are part of Kedia’s client list.
The space is open to the public on Saturdays or through prior appointments on weekdays free of charge. “The new museum will be open to the public on all days,“ Kedia said. “Looking at products they grew up with will be like going down memory lane.“
Brand consultant Harish Bijoor said that for a consumerist society like ours, a museum like this gives more insight on the evolution of brands that are relevant to our daily lives. Its far-flung location, he cautioned, can be a disadvantage.
“The museum must conduct active outreach programmes to get people interested. Like organising a pop-up session on MG Road that gives people a glimpse of what they can expect at the museum.“