The IITM Heritage Centre is a unique landmark of the Institute. It is ‘unique’ in the sense that no other institute in the country has a separate division entirely dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of assets of heritage value pertaining to the origin, establishment and development of the institution. It was conceptualised and vigorously implemented by Prof. R Natarajan (Former Director) and Prof. M.S. Ananth, our present Director. It was formally inaugurated on 3rd March 2006 by Prof. Arcot Ramachandran, the second Director of the Institute, in the presence of Prof. A.E. Muthunayagam, the then Chairman, IITM Board of Governors. The fifth anniversary was celebrated on 3rd March 2011.
The Heritage Centre, housed in the ground floor of the Administration Block, has four galleries: Permanent Gallery, a Special Gallery, a Trophy Gallery and an Audio-Visual Gallery. The Permanent Gallery consists of an astounding number of 405 photographs displaced on 82 panels. These panels are further divided into 12 sections. The Early History panel contain the photographs of the founding organisation and the ceremonial laying of corner stone at BSB by Sri Humayun Kabir, the then Union Minister of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs on 31st July 1959. Snapshots of various news clippings reporting the collaboration of Indian and German academicians to establish the third Indian Institute of Technology at Madras are displayed in The Press Reports panel.
The Campus Developments, Facilities, Events and Students Activities panels beautifully depict the transformation of simple one day institutional affairs into events as big and livelier as Shaastra and Saarang. One can also find printed issues of some of the earliest institute publications like the Capmastimes, Annual Magazine and Bharati (released during Madri Gras, predecessor of Saarang). Portraits and Alumni panels display colours sketches of the founding members and distinguished former students respectively.
Natural Heritage panels list each and every species of flora and fauna that adorns our large campus. Last but not the least, Potpourri panel is a magnificent amalgam of hundreds of photographs spanning the glorious 52 years of existence of the Institute.
The Special Gallery contains a temporary display of photographs arranged on six mobile display panels. The Trophy Gallery has a magnificent exhibition of the trophies won by IITM students in sports and cultural competitions. And finally, the Audio-Visual Gallery screens a short “in-house” documentary, “Down the Memory lane” at regular intervals depicting some significant aspects of the early history of the Institute.
The IITM Heritage Centre is indeed an historic tribute to the founders of our Institute of which every IITian should be proud of. Do visit it before you pass out, it’s located on the ground floor of the administration building.