The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya which was formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum, is a must-do with kids. If you think (like I did) that museums can be boring for kids, you will be forced to change your opinion. The CSMVS Mumbai Museum has come up with ways to keep the kids highly engaged by giving them real-life experiences in history and culture. Read on to know what I mean and why I rate this museum as one of the best things to do in Mumbai with kids.
The museum itself is housed in one of the former residences of the ‘Prince of Wales’. The huge building is heavily influenced by the Bijapur style of architecture. The central dome resembles the ‘Gol Gumbaz’ of Bijapur. You will also notice many other traditional architecture elements such as jharokhas, jaalis etc. The grounds are well kept and manicured.
We called up ahead of visiting, to see if the place of wheelchair accessible since my daughter was still recuperating from her Kidzania accident. We were happy to know that the place was completely wheelchair-friendly and provided wheelchairs for the visitors. And that means it is also stroller friendly. Good for us – we were pushing both!
The ‘Mummy’ Experience
The cherry on top of the icing was the ‘Mummy’ experience! We were fortunate enough to visit the museum when a special exhibit was going on. The kids (and us!!!!) actually got to see a real Egyptian ‘Mummy’. It was definitely the highlight of our visit to the museum.
Although I purchased a photography pass, the Mummy exhibit was not allowed to be photographed. No pictures to share the surreal experience!
History + Culture
The museum houses separate sections that give a glimpse into different cultures like the Himalayan section. All the exhibits are neatly divided into broad categories such as sculptures, paintings, photographs, Antiques, Textiles or according to the times and eras etc.
The kids are sure to be able to relate to many names/terms from their Social studies and science syllabus at school. They will also recognize many details from movies like Jodha-Akbar and Mohen-jo-Daaro and even some kids cartoons.
Art Gallery + Wildlife
We had planned to visit the Jehangir Art Gallery after the Mumbai Museum since my eldest is very artistically inclined. But traveling with a 18 month old requires many alterations (read sacrifices) in plans and we had to drop the gallery visit. The disappointment was quickly made up for, when we realized that the Mumbai Museum housed an excellent Art collection.
The personal collections of esteemed collectors such as Late Jehangir Sebavala, Sir Ratan Tata and Sir Dorabji Tata. We stood there in disbelief staring at the likes of ‘Madonna and Child with Saints’ and our hearts swelling with pride at the thought of these esteemed paintings being housed in our own country.
The Tatas have also made available for public viewing, their pottery collection. Now, this is a subject close to my heart and I spent as much time taking in the collectible pottery as the European paintings.
The kids, however, were not as ecstatic about it as their mom and ran off to marvel at the ‘Weapons’ collection of the Tata family.
And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we noticed the ‘Natural History’ section of the museum.
Although the critters are not real, this section of the Mumbai Museum is a hit with all kids. All the animals and birds are created real sized. Do let the kids count the number of chameleons in the Chameleon exhibit – they are sure to miss one or two due to the excellent camouflage!
Theory and Practical
Remember how we fell asleep in our class sometimes? Especially when the classes were after lunch break or extended for 2 or 3 periods! Lol, I certainly remember. Did you ever fall asleep during a ‘Practical’ class? Neither did I. Practicals were all buzzing with activity!
Something similar is the case with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. The premier art and history museum has gone a step ahead and introduced a number of activities to make the museum visit even more exciting for the kids. The fun-and-learn activities made the museum visit so much interesting and enlightning.
Interactive Activities for Kids at the Mumbai Museum
Here are some activities that my kids enjoyed at the Mumbai museum. All activities were free of cost and the kids could take home whatever they created! They do keep a donation box near the activities to which we contributed to encourage such endeavors.
My son also made a stamping card that I couldn’t take pictures of. You can see it in the picture below, though.
- Visiting Hours: 10:15 am to 6:00 pm (last admission at 5.45pm)
- Wheelchair Accessible!
- Has a Cafeteria and a Museum Shop.