Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Walled City, nestled in the confines of Greater Iqbal Park, lies the National History Museum. A project of the Citizens Archive of Pakistan and Parks and Horticulture Authority Lahore, the museum is Pakistan’s first digitally interactive museum, housing a variety of exhibits such as accounts of oral history, a virtual reality “Wagah Station” train with 3-D headsets, “Camera from the Past” that allows the user to fit into famous historical photos and take home a polaroid as a souvenir, sections dedicated to music, sports and much more.
To celebrate 75 years of Independence, the NHM hosted a Jazz Night at their premises on October 1, a night filled with enchanting music, a star-studded guest list, and detailed tours of all the exhibits. The delightful evening kicked off with the guests being ushered into the museum, to take in the brilliantly curated, tribute to the rich history and culture of this great land. The NHM had appointed guides alongside each exhibit, as they shed light upon each display and what it inferred. The entire walk-through of the museum was a treat for the eyes, each exhibit surpassing the last. The bone-chilling accounts of partition that one could listen to on the headsets, and the treasury of photographs alongside it were particularly noteworthy. All the invitees seemed to be in awe of the museum and what it had to offer.
Once the museum tour was over, the guests were ushered to a spacious auditorium, and the renowned filmmaker and Patron-in-Chief of NHM, Ms. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy opened the floor, and shed light on how, when, and why the National History Museum came into being. Therein began the Jazz Night; a magical hour filled with delightful music. The popular Lahore Jazz Ensemble, formerly known as Sachal Studios Orchestra, displayed their skills by performing several beloved numbers such as “Take 5”, “Sanu Nehar Walay Pull Tay”, “Chaap Tilak”, and a heart-touching rendition of the National Anthem of Pakistan. The audience was held spellbound, as the musicians wove their magic using a multitude of instruments and lit up the night sky. The Lahore Fort and the minaret of the Badshahi Masjid provided the perfect backdrop to an event such as this.
Places such as the National History Museum are far and few in between, in a country where the erasure of history is rapidly increasing, it is vital that we build and foster these public spaces, to preserve our heritage, history, and culture. The Jazz Night was a glimpse into how much our country has to offer, and how we should all task ourselves with doing what we can to protect it.