Museum History

The Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum was established in 1872 as the erstwhile Victoria & Albert Museum, Bombay. It is Mumbai’s oldest museum and the third oldest in the country. The Museum's collection showcases the Decorative Arts of India and the life and history of nineteenth century Mumbai.

The idea of setting up a museum in Mumbai was mooted in 1850 when preparations were being made for the first ‘Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations’ to be held in London’s Crystal Palace in 1851. Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, wanted to present to the world the industrial arts and crafts of Britain’s colonies and thereby stimulate trade for these products. Duplicates of India’s beautiful arts and crafts that were sent to the Great Exhibition from the Bombay Presidency formed the nucleus of the new museum’s collection. It was opened to the public in 1857 to much interest and curiosity.

The Museum building came up at its present site in 1872 as the Victoria & Albert Museum, Bombay. In 1975 the Museum was renamed the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in honour of the man whose vision and dedication ensured its establishment.

The Museum’s collection includes the fine and decorative arts which showcases the importance of craftsmanship practiced by various communities of the Bombay Presidency. It also has an extraordinary collection of clay models and dioramas that document the life of the people of Mumbai and the history of the city in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Take a Museum Tour every Saturday & Sunday at 11:30 am. No prior registration required.
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