The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s long-standing plan of setting up a textile museum at Kalachowki as a tribute to the city’s once thriving mill culture, is in its final stages and may be opened to public by the end of this year. The design of the museum premises, which was being prepared by the JJ School of Architecture, has been finalised and a presentation on the plan was given to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta last week. Spread over 61,000 sq m, the plan proposes to utilise the open spaces within the mill site, an heritage precinct, and allow the public to get involved with the activities which will be conducted primarily by the students of J J College of Architecture. “The plan suggests that we can involve the students of painting and sculpture to take up projects in the open areas which can involve other people as well. Visitors can be encouraged to participate in the activity and try their hand at painting with the students,” said an official.
In a bid to lend a helping hand to talented students, the plan also proposes setting up an array of shops which can be given to students showing good performance for a year. Students can showcase and sell their artwork at the shops and use the funds to start their own independent project.
Similar to the set up of Dilli Haat, the popular shopping destination for ethnic products in Delhi, the plan also makes a provision for craftsmen from across the state and even the country to sell garments and other textile-based goods. The BMC is also planning to set up a light and sound show as well as the exhibits of history of weaving in the backdrop of the Independence movement.
Civic officials said the premises will be opened to the people even as the restoration work of the mills are being done.
“We want people to get a feel of the legacy of the textile mills and we want them to be a part of the revival process. There are lovely open spaces and beautiful pathways which will be spruced up for people to walk. We hope to complete the first set of areas and then open it up to the people in the next six months,” said the municipal commissioner.
Staffers of the J J College of Architecture, headed by principal Rajiv Mishra, is in the process of mapping the priorities. Aiming to make the museum more accessible to people from all walks of life, Mishra said, “People will be able to experience a textile village. Unlike other museums, people will not only learn, but also participate in activities involving art.” He added the aspects of the plan will now be prioritised into phases before it is implemented by the first week of June. In order to get a better understanding of the site, Mehta will conduct a visit of the mill area next week.