Nearly a year after Sir JJ School of Arts was roped in to design a museum on Mumbai’s textile industry, a team of experts from the premier art institute has prepared three designs and submitted them to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Authorities from the institute are now discussing the plans with the civic authorities for a final decision.
The proposal to build a museum as a tribute to the city’s once-thriving mill culture was mooted by the BMC way back in 2009. The museum is slated to come up on a land spanning 61,000 sq metres — including a 17,000-sq metre plot belonging to the National Textile Corporation (NTC) — in Kalachowki, which houses the defunct India United Mills 2 and 3.
The museum will include fashion galleries that will display traditional Indian textiles, an amphitheatre for performances reflecting the culture of the mill-worker communities, and food courts serving traditional cuisine.
Besides, an educational institute on the textile industry, which would be complementary to the museum, has also been proposed, said IA Kundan, additional municipal commissioner.
Kundan said the museum would showcase generations of mill workers of various periods, different types of machines and other historical aspects. “We hope to get cooperation from the NTC. The plan will be finalised soon and the tenders will be floated in a month,” said Kundan, adding that work on the museum was being fast-tracked and officials of the BMC and NTC had held some meetings on the matter.
“The JJ School of Architecture, along with Fine Arts and Applied Arts, is working to give this museum to the citizens of Mumbai. Most museums tend to be elitist and are frequented only by the rich. We want this museum to be accessible to the public at large,” said Rajiv Mishra, principal of Sir JJ College of Architecture and Director at the State Directorate of Art, Maharashtra.
Mishra is leading a team of 15 experts from the school in planning the project.
The project had been delayed because of disputes surrounding the ownership of the property, which have been solved, said Mishra, also a member of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee. The mill site is a heritage precinct, due to which, the project had faced hurdles in getting clearances.
A team from Russia-based Hermitage Museum is also contributing to the project. “They have already shared their inputs. Once we get the designs approved by the municipal commissioner, we will have a personal meeting with the Russian experts,” said Mishra, adding that the team last surveyed the site of the museum two weeks ago.
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