A visit to the National Museum on Wednesday turned out to be a memorable experience for nine-year-old Niharika - thanks to ‘Elements’, an experimental and interactive exhibition for children being hosted by National Museum. From finding the way through a maze, crawling through a tunnel and smelling a cupboard, it offers exciting experience for children in the age group of 6-14 years.The 26-day exhibition is organized by Think Arts, a group which aims to bring imaginative and out-of-the-box aesthetic experiences for children. "A generation ago, this exhibition would have been redundant. We had the outdoors to play in. We touched, smelt, felt, heard and used all of our senses as we explored. These experiences fuelled our imagination," said Puppeteer Anurupa Roy, a founder member of Think Arts.Roy said that it all started when she came across a child who was surprised to spot a mango in a tree. "I was shocked when the child asked me how the mango was there in the tree. It shows how children are disconnected from everyday life," said Roy. “The exhibition encourages the children to go in for an indoor journey that would invigorate tactile sensations besides smell, hearing and viewing," she added.
The journey starts with an art room that where children are encouraged to make sculptures using cardboard boxes, scraps of cloth, paper and other objects. The subsequent maze section, inspired by Lucknow's famed Bhul Bulaiya stairway passages in the 18th-century Bara Imambara, is lined in a zigzag manner with narrow corridors that have walls lined with jute."Some may lose their way, some may come back. The naughty ones sometimes mislead the others," said Roy. "The most sought-after section has been the texture walk," she added, referring to paths along which children can walk over different materials such as mat, cotton, sand, pebbles, foam, sawdust, water-soaked sponge and coloured powder.The music enthusiastics have enough reasons to cheer as there is a room full of instruments made from elements like seeds, metal, wood and bamboo. Many of these instruments are inspired from the music gallery at the National Museum.