Background of the Institution

The Urusvati Museum of folklore sponsored by the Urusvati Centre for Contemporary Art, New Delhi was set up in December 1999. It later expanded the scope of its activities and was relocated to its present premises in September 2001 with substantial funding from the Ford Foundation. Establishment of Urusvati Museum of Folklore fulfilled the aim of preserving documenting & increasing public access to the tangible & intangible culture of the Country. The Museum has widely covered seven Northern and Central State-Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. The permanent display in the museum gallery forms a nucleus exhibition displaying folklore in narrative form.

The research on narratives and dramatic forms relating to Myths and Legends, Folk and Tribal dances, Performing Art & Crafts with special emphasize on Tales of love and velour has been completed from the States of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. The researched material is also being used as reference material for authenticity in the display of these narrative forms, through the visual arts. The research covers a wide spectrum of the cultural ethos of a particular state touching upon the performing Folk Arts and Crafts, Folk Treaties Songs, Dances and Dramas, besides popular folkloric traditions.

Educational Programs organized by Urusvati Museum of Folklore
As a part of its educative program the Urusvati Museum of Folklore has organized thirty workshops for over 3000 school children during the last three years with the following school:
Jhankar Public School, Village- Shikohpur, District- Gurgaon ( Five workshops)
Amar Jyoti Public School, Village- Shikohpur, District- Gurgaon ( Five workshops)
Naurangpur Vidyalya, Village- Naurangpur, Distrct- Gurgaon ( Two workshops)
Bloom Public School, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi ( Two workshops)
DAV Public School, Gurgaon ( Two workshops)
Blue Bells School, Gurgaon.
Modern School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi
Tagore International School, New Delhi
Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Gurgaon
Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Manesar
National Security Guard, Manesar
The students in the age group of 7 to 15 years enjoyed their participation in workshops, creating crafts items. The students who attended these work shops were taught the traditional technique of puppet making, cane weaving, clay modeling, tie & dye, learning folk songs, story telling and poetry writing etc. Folklore stories were narrated by the Museum Staff. A question hour session was followed by plays based on the folklore stories which were rehearsed by school children and then enacted, for their friends and school mates. The Curator and Asst. Curator of the Museum also conducted three workshops on World Heritage Sites in India and spoke on Indian Art and Culture to senior school children on World Heritage Day and UNESCO Day.
Cultural Activities conducted by the Urusvati Museum of Folklore
To mark important cultural days such as, festivals, events related to agricultural cycle, etc. The Urusvati Museum of Folklore organized cultural programs and folk dance performances for its visitors. The Museum has built up an information data base on the names and addresses of traditional artists, crafts-person and scholars and cultural programs are arranged in the museum premises with the participation of these performers. The following folk performances have been organized by the Museum:
Rendition of “Heer and Ranjha” by Mrs Shanno Khurana
“Tera-tali dance” from Udaipur, Rajasthan
“Maand Gaayan” from Udaipur, Rajasthan
“Barsane Ki Holi” based on Folklore of Radha and Krishna from Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.
“Malvai Gidda” from Punjab, performed on Baisakhi festival of Punjab.
“Bum-Rasia” beats of big drums sung with popular raginis from Hodal, District-Faridabad, Haryana.
“Jhijhia” folk dance from Patna, Bihar.
Santoor Recital from Jammu and Kashmir.
Ghazals singers from Uttar Pradesh.
Since the setting up of the Urusvati Museum of Folklore on 6th December 1999, the Museum is playing a pioneer role in the local region to disseminate the rich cultural traditions of the country trough its activities. The Museum has given a deep insight and increased public access to the tangible and intangible culture of the country. It is certain that in years to come it will become a cultural hub of activities for Gurgaon city as well as for residents of Delhi, as also people traveling from Delhi to Jaipur who will find in it an haven for a stop to interact with artists, craftsman and scholars.
The Museum and its activities have been widely appreciated. To make it easily accessible to the visitors, large hoardings/boards have been put up on National Highway-8 and in Gurgaon City, Advertisement in tourists magazines are being regularly given for the benefit of the visitors and local population about the activities of the Museum. As the Museum is in close proximity to the Mega City of Gurgaon, it is becoming a popular visiting place for tourists and locals alike.