Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) will open its first children’s museum, unveiled on Saturday, to the public on Match 29. “After wrapping up a few formalities, we hope to throw open the museum to Mumbai on March 29,” said Sabyasachi Mukherjee, director general, CSMVS.
In what young museum enthusiasts may find interesting, the space has been put together by 25 of their peers aged between 8 and 14, who were selected for the task through an inter-school art and essay competition held last year, in which they had to write about the museum of their dreams.
As many as 500 children took part in the competition in schools across Mumbai.
The museum displays a wide range of art, from ancient sculptures to contemporary paintings, depicting India’s rich culture and heritage, re-interpreted through a child’s imagination.
Bilwa Kulkarni, assistant curator (education), CSMVS, told The Indian Express, “We did not want this to be just a toy museum for a segment of children, but one in which children could grapple with the complexities of what comes with putting together a real exhibition.”
All items in the museum were curated by the children.
Kulkarni added, “The 22 pieces have been taken from the CSMVS museum itself but the descriptions for each of them have been done by the children. They decided on what pieces would be part of the museum and they will keep changing every six months, when another set of children shall curate another such exhibition.
Mukherjee, the director general, said, “The idea was to create a dedicated space for children within the museum. It will be a space for child curiosity and enhance and reinstate the nature-culture bond that is fast vanishing from our busy city life. It is our responsibility as a major cultural institution of Mumbai to think about children and establish a space for deeper engagement with histories and the arts.”
The idea of the museum first came about in July last year and had been put together in partnership with the Bank of America.
“As a museum visited by more than 3,00,000 children every year, it was our desire to not just acknowledge children as a significant audience but also give them their own space that allows them to grow in an uninhibited manner,” said Mukherjee.