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New museum to open in Goa

Our history is, without a doubt, or most priceless asset and every endeavour that works towards preserving it and for future generations deserves encouragement. The new museum at Varca aims at achieving this goal by showcasing a range of artefacts of Goa's past

San Thome Museum, Back in Time is an endeavour of Thomas Antonio da Costa, an engineer by profession, who gave up his lucrative job on the ship to come back to Goa to be with his mother and family.He set up a bar and restaurant in a newly constructed 2 floor building, the upper two floors of which he has converted into a museum, his childhood dream. The building itself has been built with old heritage material and replicas.

As you enter the building's patio, to the right a big anchor 'Apshi', weighing 3.3 tons, mounted on two grinding stones, welcomes you. There is also a big wooden barrel at the entrance to the museum which has been restored by Thomas. Many of the artefacts on display have been repaired by him, using his skills as an engineer and art lover to bring back to working condition and restore the items to its original shape.

On the first floor he has exhibited items that are related to writing and printmedia. Here he has a number of typewriters of different brands, models, sizes along with the desktop PC, laptop and notepad. In this collection is included the Remington 10, a First World War era 1919 machine as well as Imperial 58, a Second world war 1940 model. An identical model is housed in the National Museum of Victoria, England.

The Music section on this floor gives us an insight of recorded music players: Gramophone, records, spool tape, cassette tape recorder, CD player, etc. An interesting item in this section is the vintage model of Akai X-355D (28.5 Kg) and Akai GX-255D (16.5 kg) spool tape player and different radios. But the pride of place goes to the 1880 Schiedmier German Grand Piano, which Thomas claims to be one of the only known working piano in Asia fitted with ivory keys. He has offered to let any piano enthusiast use it. There is also an upright Schiedmier, which he intends to keep open so that students and others interested can learn how the piano works.

For the movie buffs, there is a Silent Movie projector, black and white and 16mm movie projector and a still camera comprising this section. Some of the everyday items used by our forefathers and no more in use and are now forgotten or resting in our 'mavo' (attic) as items of bygone era are on display on the second floor of the museum. These include petromax, Alladin lamps, water containers and filters, stoves, etc. A number of clocks adorn one wall and there are a number of table clocks - all in working condition-a reminder of Thomas' father profession as watch and clock repairer and owner of a watch shop in Margao.

Thomas himself is an artist by choice and calls himself a technical artist and has personally repaired and restored the items. He has created a prayer area with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima mounted on one and half meter rib of a whale along with a Bible stand of spinal bones. He framed his deceased brother's photograph with the snout bone of the whale.

To witness all this and a number of other objects from the past, drop in at the new museum Back in Time in Varca, Salcete, which will be inaugurated on January 19, 2014.

BY MARIA DE LOURDES, BRAVO DA COSTA, RODRIGUES, 16 Jan 2014
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