The creation of the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing was the initiative of Rachel Bracken-Singh and her husband Pritam Singh. Pritam’s father, John Singh, purchased the dilapidated Chanwar Palkiwalon ki Haveli mansion in the late 1970s and began a 3 year renovation project in 1989. With the guidance of architects, Nimish Patel & Parul Zaveri of Abhikram, the building was restored to its original grandeur. By demonstrating the feasibility of using indigenous materials, time-honoured construction methods and skilled local craftsmen, the preservation project earned a UNESCO award for ‘Cultural Heritage Conservation’ in 2000.
After completion the future use of the haveli was still undetermined. Ultimately, Rachel and Pritam founded a museum dedicated to hand block printing. First, structural adaptations were necessary for turning a 16th century haveli into a contemporary building suited to exhibiting delicate textiles. Then the Anokhi Archives needed improved storage facilities as well as further research. This study resulted in the opening exhibition, Print Progress – Innovation & Revival 1970-2005.
Sixteen years later the work continues. Museum practices are continually refined, and an ongoing research programme unearths more tantalising bits of history as new information on people and places come to light. Our neighbourhood is also key. AMHP strives to educate every student in Amber, enhancing their knowledge and pride in their esteemed textile heritage. The museum also welcomes our neighbours and local craftsmen to experience a living history museum first hand.