The mission has invited praise and enthusiasm from Ladakhis. The LAHDC, which is based in Leh where the museum is proposed to come up, has sought the cooperation of organisations working in Ladakh for better collaborations in the conservation of culture.
"We have a unique heritage, but its richness is now being dishevelled by a mounting storm of tourists," said LAHDC Chief Executive Councillor Rigzin Spalbar. "It will be excellent if there is a raise in the standards of existing museums or ones being set up in monasteries."
Dr Venu noted that the 14-month-old endeavour, overall, has been leading to a growing consciousness in Ladakhis to uphold their heritage. "Museums have a vital role in safeguarding, documenting, communicating and promoting the culture and heritage of a region and community," he said.
NMI has been informing, and equipping monks and curators managing museums in Ladakh's monasteries to deal with the basics of museum management and preventive conservation.
"The idea is to raise their standard to a level where it will require only minimum intervention from outside. Also, when a project proposal in the field of conservation or museum management is put before them, they must know to judge it by themselves and not let their objects/monasteries become experimentation ground," said Prof Seth.
The region preserves its heritage at two levels: community (in the villages) and by monks (in the monasteries). While the material for heritage conservation needed for architectural heritage are stored in monasteries, it is the people at large who own the other intangible assets such as collective memory, legends, songs, dance and rituals.