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One Of The City's Oldest Museums Has A Secret Room With Over 100-Year-Old History Stored Within

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One of the oldest museums in the city, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya {CSMVS} has an archive room where they have been working to preserve all sorts of documents, photographs related to the 100-year old history of the museum, as first reported by the Indian Express.

Preserving The History

Previously known as the Prince of Wales Museum and later renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, CSMVS was founded in 1905. With treasure troves dating back to as early as the early 1900s, the archiving process has begun and is aiming to preserving the history of the museum. From fragile documents and artifacts to letters.

In conversation with the Indian Express, the director general of the museum, Sabyasachi Mukherjee said, “this is the first of its kind institutional archive in India.” The archiving process is part of the overall Metro Museum Modernization Plan, with scanners and a camera that helps in creating the digital archive of the museum’s collections along with its history. Therefore, material like letters, exhibition slides, photographs and other documents that have been with the museum over all these years began to be conserved with the help of the museum’s conservation centre.

What We Love

It’s important to have archives {and even digitising them} of documents and material that chronicles that rich 100-year old history of the museum. This includes some of the rarest documents and blueprints of the museums.

Some of the rare documents that are being archived and preserved right now include letters exchanged between the museums and Lady Navajbai Tata {widow of Sir Ratanji Tata} from the early 1920s, museum’s original floor plan and the photographs showing the changes of the museum building over all these years. In fact, a photograph dated to 1927 shows the Sculpture Gallery which was actually the Brahmanical Gallery.

The staff of the museums are also reaching out the museums over the world in order to obtain any relevant document or interesting material.

So, We're Saying...

The museum is conserving and preserving its 100-year old history so that in another 100 years more people can come in and educate themselves. Museums are a repository of city’s culture and CSMVS is one that encapsulates it well. Next time you’re visiting the museum, do ask the staff about the tiny, almost hidden archive room.