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Union Ministry of Culture give Administrative approval for 12.43 crore Rupees for Modernization of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai

New Delhi : September 5,2008

         Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai had submitted a proposal for up-gradation & Modernization and sought financial assistance of Rs. 12.43 crores from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India to be spent during 2008-10.  The  Union Ministry of Culture has given its administrative approval for the same.

About the Museum

            For a long time people felt the need for a good Museum in Bombay and finally the Museum was established by public contribution aided by the Government of Bombay Presidency.  The Foundation Stone of the Museum was laid by the Prince of Wales on the 11th of November, 1905 and the Museum was named Prince of Wales Museum of Western India.           

            The architect of the building, George Wittet, was selected after an open competition in 1909.  Wittet is known for the Indo Saracenic style of architecture of which this Museum is one of the best examples.  The Indo-Saracenic style combines Hindu and Islamic elements while incorporating some elements of Western architecture.

            The building was completed in 1914 but the Museum was only opened to the public on the 10th of January, 1922.  Till then it was used by the military as a hospital and for the Children’s Welfare Exhibition.

            Many things have changed since then, Bombay is now known as Mumbai and the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India has been renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya.  The Museum is set in a well laid out garden which retains it’s original plan even today.  The Museum is a Grade I Heritage Building of the city.  It has bagged the 1st prize awarded by the Indian Heritage Society for heritage building maintenance.

The Collection:

            The collection of the Museum started almost simultaneously with the foundation of the Museum building in 1905.  The Museum acquired a well-known collection of Indian miniatures and other antiquities in 1915.  The excavated artifacts from the Buddha stupa of Mirpurkhas were brought to the Museum in 1919.  The art collection of Sir Ratan Tata and Sir Dorab Tata were bequeathed to this Museum in 1921 and 1933 respectively.  The Tata collection comprises of two major collections: The European and the Far Eastern.  Some outstanding Indian antiquities also form part of this magnanimous gift.

            The Museum is an autonomous body unaided by the Government, so money was always a constraint.  Despite this, the Museum has added several antiquities to its collection, particularly in the period after Independence.  The Museum now houses about 50,000 artefacts.

Vision

            The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India) situated in a heritage precinct known as the “Crescent Site” is one of the more important Museums of the country and a prime cultural institution of the city of Mumbai.  The building is declared as an A grade heritage building by the Heritage Committee of Mumbai and is in itself an attraction for the visitors.  The building is situated in an area of about 3 acres covering a built up area of 12,142.23 sq.m.

            The Museum began its modernization program 7 years ago to keep pace with the changing needs and trends of the 21st century.  This implied upgrading the Museum to International standards to make it as inviting and as enjoyable as any major Museum of the world.  The main objectives were:

 

·         To make the Museum visitor friendly

·         Integrated display of art objects to create clearer and better understanding of the collection in particular and Indian arts in general

·         Museum educational programmes, in-house and out reach

·         Development of new galleries

·         Establishment of a state-f-the-art Conservation Studio

·         Provide infotainment to the visitors

            It was an uphill task particularly in view of the fact that the Museum is not supported by either the State or the Central Government.  However, hoping to receive support from Corporate Houses and interested Public, the Museum embarked on a plan of creating an infrastructure for the developments mentioned above.

             The Museum has already invested Rs. 4.5 crores towards this modernization plan.  According to Museum authorities financial support from the Government will enable them to complete this modernization process.

 

The Museum has already completed Core Programs successfully in its Phase I modernization programme.

  • Creation of suitable space of about 30,000 sq.ft., for relocation and installation of five galleries, a conservation studio, a visiting exhibition gallery equipped with climate control and other requirements of a visiting exhibition and a seminar room, in the East Wing of the Museum.
  • Reorganisation of stores.
  • Publication of catalogues, brochures in different languages and other publications.
  • Providing an audio guide in six languages to the visitors.
  • Relocation and expansion of the Library and providing library and research facilities to students and research scholars.
  • Created facility of a seminar room for lectures, seminars and multimedia presentations.
  • Created space and some primary facilities for a conservation studio.
  • Installed two of the five proposed galleries, showcasing Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala collection and the Coins of India.
  • Museum gallery for contemporary artists.
  • Digital catalogue for Museum collection in progress. 

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