bhau-daji-6Behind its ancient walls, history sleeps. NMTV News takes you on a journey behind the Bhau Daji lad Museum, the oldest museum in Mumbai. Few people pay attention to this silent witness history, since few have heard about it. Few even know that the Bhau Daji Lad Museum exists. Named as the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1872, it is the oldest museum in Mumbai. To the casual observer, the museum appears quaint and quite old with elegant arches and high painted ceiling. In the midst of all this you would find heavy glass cases, oversized pedestals and fading information panels with labels that have turned yellow with age. Now, the look has changed. The yellow paint has been pealed to reveal the gold ornamentations. The look is stunning. It is no longer faded, old and musty. It has been rejuvenated. The story begins in the 1840s when Bombay came into East India Company hands. Dr. Buist, a collector conceived the idea of having a museum in Bombay. Few people know that Sir George Birdwood, who wrote celebrated works like The Industrial Arts of India, and Sva, was among the first curators of this museum. He supervised its growth, with the active help and support of Indians. Ramkrishna Vitthal Lad, also known as Bhau Daji Lad was more actively involved. He, together with a number of his colleagues and men of influence, conceived the idea of erecting a new building for housing this collection. The museum was christened as the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1862. The museum, an archive of the communities that migrated from across the country to Mumbai has, in addition, a library that contains rare maps and several old manuscripts and books that reveal Mumbai’s history. In 1975, Bombay Municipal Corporation that runs this museum decided to name it after Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum. Today the 150-year old look has changed – it has got a fresh life and look, bright surroundings and interiors – a new lease. Bhau Daji Lad Museum has arrived at last, for people will look again and remember its lost glory.

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