Structure and Activities
International Roerich Memorial Trust is an Indo-Russian non-governmental organization governed by the Board of Trustees, which includes Indian and Russian representatives. IRMT functions in close cooperation with the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR), Moscow, under the guidance of the Government of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla and Deputy Commissioner, Kullu-cum-Director, IRMT, and with the support of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India, New Delhi.
The IRMT museum complex comprises the museum displays and memorial sites connected with the life and creative work of the Roerichs. Visitors can see the Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich Art Gallery (Ground floor of the Roerich House, entrance from the western side) and the Roerich Memorial House (accessible from the balcony on the 1st floor). By the House one can see the temple-cum-outdoor display “Gods and Guardians of the Kullu Valley.” Down the slope is located the Summer Studio of Svetoslav Roerich and the Samadhi of Nicholas Roerich.
Museum exhibitions are open in the two memorial buildings of “Urusvati” Himalayan Research Institute. Here visitors can see the exhibitions on the history of the Institute and its research activities, and on the life and work of Nicholas Roerich.
Here, in the Laboratory Block of the Urusvati complex one can visit the Himalayan Folk Art Museum. In the open area below the Institute Buildings one can see the open-air exhibition “The Kullu Rajahs Memorial Stones.”
The museum work of recording, keeping and promoting of the Roerichs’ heritage is a priority line of the IRMT activity. In cooperation with the ICR and with the support of the Himachal State Museum, Shimla IRMT experts work for the preservation and conservation of museum premises, items, books and archival materials, create proper condition for their storage, open new exhibitions and supply them with information material in three languages: English, Russian and Hindi.
For instance, in 2014 a chemical laboratory for conservation and restoration works was set up with the support of the Government of Himachal Pradesh and DC Kullu. In the same year, in collaboration with the Manuscripts Conservation Centre, Shimla and Himachal State Museum, Shimla a three-day workshop on “Preventive Conservation and Awareness on Manuscripts” was conducted in the IRMT.
Modern LED lighting system has been installed in the halls of the Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich Art Gallery, the Summer Studio of Svetoslav Roerich and other museum premises. The equipment for storing books and other printed editions has been acquired. Exhibition halls have been given a facelift and new exhibitions have been created there. By now, in cooperation with the ICR the exhibitions in the Summer Studio of Svetoslav Roerich and the Himalayan Folk Art Museum have been updated, a new exhibition titled “The Roerichs’ Dining Room” on the ground floor of the Roerich House has been opened, and the exhibitions on the life and work of Nicholas Roerich and the Roerich Pact have been inaugurated in the “Urusvati” Institute premises.
Developing the concept and reviving the research-related activities of the “Urusvati” Institute based on the evolutionary ideas of the Roerichs is another priority direction of the IRMT work. This is done in close cooperation with the International Centre of the Roerichs, Moscow. In the past several years on behalf of the ICR a number of experts visited the IRMT several times to check the condition and make description of the natural sciences collection of the Institute, and study the flora and fauna on the IRMT territory and in adjacent areas. It is planned to conduct annual scientific conferences and seminars, and to organize visits of scholars from different fields of knowledge. Visiting scholars will have a chance to use the “Urusvati” Institute Memorial Library.
The IRMT Cultural-Educational Centre has been set up to widen the range of educational services provided by the IRMT to the local residents and visitors. The classes of Indian classical dance, classical vocal, traditional musical instruments and paintings are held in the Helena Roerich Academy of Arts for the children of Naggar and neighbouring villages.
In the Computer Room the children of Naggar learn modern computer technologies and the art of digital photography, while visitors can avail of internet connection.
The IRMT Public Library contains books by and on the Roerichs, art catalogues, books on the history, philosophy and art of India, on Buddhism and Hinduism, the Russian and world art and many other subjects. The Reading Room of the Library is open to visitors and local residents.
The Devika Rani Gallery is an exhibition space comprising two cozy halls for exhibitions and master classes.
The cultural-educational activities of the IRMT include celebration of the memorial days of the Roerichs, Russian-Indian festivals, a wide range of exhibition activities, children’s painting competitions and various master classes.
Thus, every year in the month of October an Indo-Russian festival celebrating the anniversaries of Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich is held with the support of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India, New Delhi. Within the framework of these celebrations thematic exhibitions are organized, new displays are opened and contemporary artists conduct their master classes. Russian and Indian artistes, as well as guests from other countries, take part in the cultural programmes organized on the occasion.
To introduce traditional and contemporary art to the visitors the IRMT regularly holds exhibitions by modern artists. In the past few years Indian artists from Chandigarh, Delhi, Chamba, Kangra, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Kullu and other cities and states of India exhibited their art works.
The IRMT is a venue of master classes and creative field trips for artists. Thus, in 2014-2015 the IRMT was visited by the representatives of the Lalit Kala Akademi (the Delhi and Chandigarh branches), miniature artists from Chamba and Dharamsala, members of “We,” the Group of Indian Contemporary Women Artists, Chandigarh, and many others.
Children’s painting competitions for local children have become a good custom of the IRMT. In 2015 four such competitions were organized, including the international competition on the subject of “The Image of Hero in the Work of Nicholas Roerich.”
Thematic exhibitions in the IRMT introduce the life and creative work of the Roerichs, and the culture and traditions of India. In 2014, for instance, the IRMT held the exhibition of ancient manuscripts from the collection of the scholar and translator Khub Ram Khushdil.
In the same year, in collaboration with the Manuscripts Conservation Centre, Shimla and Himachal State Museum, Shimla a three-day workshop on “Preventive Conservation and Awareness on Manuscripts” was conducted in the IRMT.
The International Roerich Memorial Trust, Naggar founded by Svetoslav Roerich and Devika Rani to preserve the unique Roerich Estate and promote the Roerichs’ artistic, philosophical and scientific heritage has become a focal point for the millions of people from all over the world. Our primary objective is to set up a world-class Cultural, Museum and Scientific Centre here, which can be achieved only as a result of joint efforts by the IRMT and the ICR, under the leadership and with the active participation of the Government of Himachal Pradesh and the Kullu District Administration, with the support of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India, with the facilitation from the governments of India and Russia, and the assistance of the broader public.