Indian design and craftsmanship were highly prized in the international markets of the 19th century. With the success of the great exhibitions, Indian objet d’art became fashionable in European capitals and this provided a stimulus to the development of the decorative arts known as industrial arts at the time. Local traditions were modified to European tastes, which is evident in many of the objects on display in the Museum’s decorative arts collection.
This gallery tells the story of Mumbai’s origins and development in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century through dioramas and models. Pride of place has been given to Mumbai’s many communities who migrated to the city during this period. The lifestyle of the people, their occupations, their games they played, their leisure activities such as music, dance and their religious traditions are documented alongside dioramas that showcase 19th century town planning, agricultural practices and village life. The many Indian regiments of the period are also beautifully displayed.
The Founders' Gallery showcases the story of the extraordinary men who dedicated their lives to establish this Museum for the city of Mumbai and its people. Portraits of these great men are exhibited in the Founders' Gallery as a tribute. They include George Buist, Juggonath Sunkersett, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad, Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy and George Birdwood.
The Museum enjoyed a close relationship with the Sir J.J. School of Art. Several of the early objects were made at the School’s workshops. The Museum houses a small but fine collection of paintings, pottery and objects from this period.
This gallery showcases the evolution of Mumbai from a swampy group of islands, known as Heptanesia during Roman times, into a gracious and elegant 19th century city. Maps, lithographs, water colours and photographs from the Museum’s rare glass negative collection take you on a journey of discovery back to the 19th century when the city was built to demonstrate Mumbai’s importance as Ubrs Prima in Indis. Beautiful old bungalows, unobstructed views of the sea, wide tree lined roads and grand institutional buildings highlight the importance of Mumbai’s urban architecture.
This gallery is a dynamic space, used to showcase special exhibitions that are curated around different themes.