Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures (DBCIC)
The Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures (DBCIC) in Shillong is a unique venture of the Salesians of Don Bosco in India to promote and preserve the numerous, beautiful and diverse indigenous cultures of North East India and of the sub-continent as a whole.
Built over 10 years (1994-2004), its seven floors represent the Seven Sister States of the North East. The DBCIC building has a total floor area of 56,000 sq. ft. and 15,154 sq. ft. of wall area for display of art objects and paintings. The Centre has three distinct sections:
1. Exhibition of Cultural Artefacts
This is the most visible aspect of DBCIC. It consists of thematically arranged exhibition galleries of artefacts from floor to floor. It houses the following galleries:
- Photo Gallery: Precious photos of anthropological value taken by missionaries working in the area.
- Mission and Culture Gallery: cultural presentation of the Church among the Khasi-Pnar and the Garos.
- Entrance Alcove consists of 22 small alcoves, representing all the States of the North East.
- Introductory Gallery: Here visitors get an overview of the whole North East.
- Prehistory Gallery : explains the history of humankind’s gradual development as expounded by physical anthropologists.
- Land and Peoples Gallery: a beautiful overview of the places and peoples of the North East.
- Fishing, Hunting and Gathering Gallery: a glimpse into the creative genius of the peoples of the North East.
- Agricultural Gallery: A 255-year old mighty tree in the middle of this gallery is a graphic demonstration of the harm slash-and-burn cultivation does.
- Traditional Technology Gallery: dioramas showing pottery, wine making, basket making, black smithy, gold smithy, weaving, wood carving, leather works and cane making.
- Basket Gallery: a wonderful diorama showcasing four different tribes engaged in the same occupation of basket making, in realistic village setting.
- Musical instruments gallery: the traditional musical instruments.
- Religion and culture gallery: the major religious beliefs and cultures of the world.
- Weapons Gallery: traditional weapons used by various tribes in the past to protect themselves.
- Costume and ornaments Gallery: life size figures of tribal men and women in their traditional dress and ornaments.
- Don Bosco and Culture Gallery: a continent-wise showcasing of the services to culture around the world rendered by the Don Bosco institutions.
- Housing Patterns Gallery: Showcasing traditional houses across the tribes of North East India.
- Art Gallery: ancient artifacts and paintings of all the Seven Sister States and Sikkim.
- Media and Culture Gallery: Situated on the topmost floor, it is a welcome place to relax, to watch a dance, and enjoy a cultural celebration.
2. Study and Research Wing
A library with 8500 volumes (and space for an additional 10,000 volumes) dealing with cultures, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, museology, and general knowledge, plus a Conference Hall for scholars and researchers.
Publications on culture and related topics constitute the third aspect of DBCIC.