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Summer Past-time
Don’t know where to take your children during summer vacation? Here are some of Mumbai’s little-known museums that are definitely worth trying out .......BY PRIYANKA BHOSALE

The museum was founded by P D Paranjape, a BEST officer who religiously collected bus tickets, engines, ticket-issuing machines from depots across the city. The museum was set up in 1984 at BEST’s Kurla depot, but was later shifted to Anik depot in 1993. What you see: British-era buses and even model replicas of depots of those days. The museum has a unique ticket-issuing machine, similar to the one kept in a museum in London. The machine would be tied around the conductor’s waist and he would turn the crank on the dial to print tickets. Veteran film actor


The only monetary museum in India, the RBI Monetary Museum was opened to the public in January 2005.

What you see: The museum has six sections dedicated to coins, currency notes, jewellery, gold and silver measuring weights and the history of RBI. 
  The museum provides information related to finance and money from barter system to e-money. It has various machines that were Jhonny Walker and lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri had used these when they were bus conductors before becoming household names. The museum is a storehouse of information and shows how Mumbai’s transport system has evolved over the years.
Vistors: The museum doesn’t see more than 15 visitors daily, said Sanjay Chaulkar, the curator of the museum. Those who come here, believe it’s a great experience for kids. “It is a good learning experience, especially for children as they tend to remember the models better than pictures,” says Dr Alifia Poonawala, a teacher accompanying a batch of four-year-olds.
Entry: Free used in the British period and even has a computer system that addresses visitors’ queries. 
  “The museum presents a true picture of the evolution of currency and facilitates a better understanding for all age groups,” says P V Radhakrishnan, the curator.

Visitors: On an average, the museum sees about 30 visitors everyday. “The museum is very informative and engages people from all age groups,” says Milind Kothavade, a visitor.

Entry: Rs 10 (free for students)


F D Alpaiwalla museum at Khareghat Colony, Hughes Road is the only community museum in the city. 

   It was founded in 1952. The museum is named after a Zoroastrian Bank employee who owned a collection of Parsi artefacts such as porcelain, manuscripts, furniture and books in 11-room house at Dhobi Talao.

What you see: Artefacts dating back to the Neolithic, Stone and Metal ages that were excavated from sites in and around Iran. The museum has a unique collection of picture postcards of Mumbai.

Besides, there is the Navsari Gateway, a wooden gateway to a 16th century agricultural mohalla in Navsari, Gujarat. 

   The museum has artefacts that depict the Parsi way of life. There are Navroze and wedding outfits and holy lamps. “The clothes have been donated by individual donors. You don’t find them now,” says Nivedita Mehta, the museum’s manager.

Vistors: Although the museum is open to the non-Parsi community, it doesn’t see many visitors. “Nowadays, we see a lot of young people of mixed parentage visiting the museum,” says Mehta.
Entry: Free


For Gandhians, the recently-renovated Mani Bhavan is a shrine as this is where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his frequent visits to Bombay. It was also the headquarters of the Indian National Congress from 1917 to 1934. 

   The museum was inaugurated in 1956 by the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi. Mani Bhavan was previously owned by Revashankar Jhaveri who played host to Mahatma Gandhi in Mumbai. 
  It was here Bapu wrote letters to Roosevelt, Hitler and other powerful world figures of his times, urging for support for India’s independence. “You can still get Bapu’s vibes here. The youth especially, need an icon and Gandhi is an ideal one. I don’t think the youth is moving away from him,” says museum Usha Thakkar, director of the museum. What you see: The museum still has a collection of those letters as well as clippings from Harijan, the newspaper Gandhi had started. Besides, there’s a doll house that recreates scenes from Gandhi’s life such as the Dandi March.

Visitors: The museum sees a regular stream of visitors everyday. Umesh Shah, a visitor says, “The museum is very peaceful. The younger generation must visit this place more often.”
Entry: Free 
Replica of an underground bus depot

A Navsari gate (left) and an urn that was excavated in Iran

The standard weights section at the RBI museum

A model of Gandhi nursing his sick father