South India’s largest collection of forestry artefacts: The Gass Forest Museum in Coimbatore – Tamil Nadu

Esther Elias, The Hindu, Coimbatore, July 9, 2012 | To read the full story and view more images, click here >>

The Gass Forest Museum located within the 100-year-old TNFA has many stories to tell.

It hosts South India’s largest collection of forestry artefacts including timber and non-timber forest produce, geological samples, tribal armaments and ornaments, entomological specimens and forest engineering models.

GFM is on Cowley Brown Road, nestled within the forest campus of Tamil Nadu Forest Academy, which celebrated its centenary last week. However, its collection has been curated over the last 110 years. “The colonists had the license to loot our land but some chose to be fascinated by it. Conservator of Forests-Coimbatore circle, Horace Archibald Gass was one such man,” says curator P. Chandrasekaran.

In 1902, Horace used his verandas and a room above his office to showcase the interesting odds and ends he had picked up throughout India’s forests. By 1906, the collection, with 358 exhibits, had outgrown this space and was transferred to the current structure built specifically for it. “This red stone building is one of Coimbatore’s oldest and is designed to withstand earthquakes. So it really is a museum within a museum,” says Chandrasekaran.

The current collection has changed many hands since Horace and even survived an auction of its exhibits – done to create space for refugees housed in GFM during World War II. Today, it hosts South India’s largest collection of forestry artefacts including timber and non-timber forest produce, geological samples, tribal armaments and ornaments, entomological specimens and forest engineering models. […]

The wildlife artefacts are disturbed only to polish, periodically change formalin and maintain moisture content. However, the seeds, soils and fungi collections are updated even on a monthly basis. “We share many exhibits with the Forest Research Institute museum in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. […]

Source: A museum within a museum – The Hindu
Date Visited: Tue Nov 01 2016 18:42:05 GMT+0100 (CET)

Pratiksha Ramkumar, Times of India (Coimbatore), Jan 5, 2016 | Read the full story here >>

[R]esearchers say ancient songs, stories and scriptures in tribal languages might hold key to important historical developments. 

Linguistics say there are at least 18 tribal languages spoken in the section of Western Ghats that spreads between the Nilgiris, Anamalai Hills and Anaikatti.

“Each tribe, like the Todas in the Nilgiris and Caders in the Anamalai Hills, has their own indigenous language,” said the professor and head of the department of linguistics, V Thayalan, at the National Seminar cum workshop on Endangered Languages in the Western Ghats organized at Bharathiar University.

“These languages are so important because many scriptures, stories and songs contain a lot of knowledge and information about their history, culture, architecture and medicine,” he said.

Researchers say a lot of knowledge can be gleaned regarding history and medicines from the ancient tribal languages. […]

Source: Take steps to preserve tribal language, speakers at a seminal in Coimbatore say – Times of India
Date Visited: Wed May 10 2017 11:48:26 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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coimbatore_gassforestmuseum_ani_youtube2015-screenshotPublished on Jun 30, 2015

Coimbatore, July 01 (ANI): A British-era museum in Tamil Nadu, exhibiting rare collection of nearly 4,000 species of animals and plants, draws thousands of spectators and students. The Gass Forest Museum in Coimbatore city exhibits one of the rarest and most extensive collections of rare and endangered animals that had been hunted down, birds, tribal clothes, animal skins, animal skeletons and historical weapons. Along with it, also on display are foetus of elephant, cobra eggs, ostrich eggs, python and cobra skins, and timbers, teak, sandalwood trees. The museum also showcases an actually hunted Gaur (Indian bison), skulls of many Gaur and deer varieties, bird varieties, snake skins and tree trunks as old as 450-years-old. The Gass Forest Museum, which was set up in 1902 by British official Horace Archibald Gass, was closed for the past eight months for renovation work. It was opened last month for public.

Source: British-era museum in Coimbatore exhibits rare collections – YouTube
Date Visited: Wed May 10 2017 11:28:30 GMT+0200 (CEST)

Imagine shopping for authentic tribal artefacts, sourced directly from tribal craftsmen, all under a single roof in Coimbatore. This will become a reality when the city will get the country’s 30th and the State’s first ‘Tribes India’ showroom […].

Handicrafts and tribal arts enthusiasts will get an opportunity to shop here for products made by tribal artisans from every State in India. The 1,300 sq. ft. showroom, located on the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) campus, is being set up as a joint initiative of TNAU and Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED), Ministry of Tribal Affairs. […]

The Centre has plans to bring in artisans from different parts of the country from time to time to display their skills to the discerning public.

Source: ‘Tribes India’ comes to Coimbatore – TAMIL NADU – The Hindu
Date Visited: Wed May 10 2017 11:37:36 GMT+0200 (CEST)