Prince of Wales Museum
Location: The museum Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, or Prince of Wales Museum, is located in the epicentre of South Mumbai beside the Gateway of India.
Significance: This museum is named after the gallantry figure ‘Shivaji Maharaj’ who laid the foundation of Maratha Empire.
Date of foundation: 11th November 1905
Date of completion: In the Year 1915
Date of inauguration: 10th January 1922 (by the wife of George Lloyd Governor of Bombay)
New Name: The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (in 1995)
History: The museum was built to immortalize the visit of the ‘Prince of Wales’, who was the upcoming George King V. It was founded on 11th November 1905 for which the museum committee sanctioned a piece of land known as ‘Crescent Site’ to construct it.
The museum’s architecture was passed under the Bombay Act No. III of 1909. And finally, the structure was furnished in 1915 but was utilized as a Children’s Welfare Centre and as a Military Hospital when the 1st World War onset.
Architect: George Wittet
The Royal Visit (1905) Memorial Funds (earlier)
The Indian government (Rs. 300, 000) and the Municipality of Mumbai (Rs. 2,50,000)
Sir Cowasji Jehangir (Rs. 50, 000)
Caretaker: Archaeological Survey of India, Trust of the Museum
Award conferred: Bombay Chapter of the Indian Heritage Society for heritage monument maintenance awarded it ‘Urban Heritage Award’ (as 1st).
Architectural type: Western and Indo-Saracenic Style of its architecture mirror the blended architecture of Maratha, Mughal and Jain sovereign.
Area: 3 acres (12,000 square metre) and constructed area is 12, 142.23 sq.m
Materials used: Basalt, Kulra stone
No. of Storey: 3
Shape of the museum: rectangular structure with domed top like Islamic monuments
Features: This museum has a central entrance porch, finial, balconies and inlaid floors, a cluster of pinnacles capped with miniature domes around the central portion having dome as well.
Interior: The interior gives the glimpse of exquisite columns, railings and balcony prevalent during 18th century Wada incorporated from Jain style and Maratha style also.
Surrounding: This museum is erected amidst long Palm trees and the bed of lovely blossoms as well as flowers is stretched around it.
Artefacts: around 50,000
Four sections of collection division: Art, archaeology, natural history and forest section
Forestry section: specimen of timbers found in the Bombay Presidency, small local geological gathering of rocks, minerals and fossils.
Maritime Heritage Gallery: It exhibits the objects used for navigation, which makes it “peculiar”.
New Galleries: These display “Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala collection” and “the coins of India”.
Art section: It shows the collection of Sir Ratan Tata and Sir Dorab Tata, paintings of the apprentices representing Mughal, Rajasthani, Pahari and Deccani paintings of Sultanate period. Manuscripts are also housed, such as of the Anwar- Suhauli and 17th century’s Hindu epic Ramayana from Mewar.
Artefacts exhibiting the glimpse of the Gupta era are housed in the ivory section. The artefacts used to be decorative pieces once are also kept here, such as textiles, ivories, Mughal jades, silver, gold and artistic metal ware. Artefacts categorized as ‘Weapons’ or ‘armour’ are preserved in separate section, such as armour of Akbar (of 1581 CE) and some to Nepali and Tibetan art.
Archaeological section: Here, precious idols, sculptures and epigrams are stored. The cues of the Indus Valley Civilization, such as fishing hooks, weapons, ornaments and weights are put inside.