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Dr Dhau Daji Lad Museum

At the core of Byculla district of Mumbai, beside the botanical gardens, Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum is possibly the county’s oldest arrangement.

In 1872, this museum building was established as the erstwhile Victoria and Albert Museum and renamed in 1975. The extensive collection of this museum includes fine as well as decorative arts that establish the magnificence of craftsmanship employed by various communities under Bombay Presidency. The astonishing collections of clay items and dioramas are a great document to know more about the life of Mumbai’s people and history of this city.


Lord Elpinstone founded the foremost museum in Bombay, the Central Museum of Natural History, Geology, Economy, Industry and Arts in 1855. However, under unavoidable circumstances, this exclusive museum was closed to for citizens while its collections were moved to Town Hall.

Soon after, a new committee was made led by Bhau Daji Lad as well Jagannath Shankarshet for raising funds to construct a new museum building. The foundation of this building took place in 1862 and it was opened in 1872 and renamed Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. This is recognized as the oldest museum of Mumbai.

Considered the third oldest museum of India, the museum exhibits a comprehensive range of decorative arts and paintings of India whilst giving an idea of the lifestyle as well as history of 19th century Mumbai. The 150th anniversary of this museum building was celebrated in 2007.

Features of Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

  • Formerly established as an exclusive treasure center of the industrial and decorative arts, the museum houses a wide range of miniature paintings, wooden objects, antique products, silver and clay works of art.
  • Bhau Daji Lad Museum has ample parking place in front of the museum building and the Byculla Rail Station is just a few minutes of walking distance from this building.
  • Apart from the eye-catching building, the museum offers wide collection of artifacts out of the history of Western India as well as of Mumbai from the 19th to the 20th century.
  • The museum building is quite spacious and airy, spreading over two floors exhibiting over 6,000 wonderful artifacts comprising paintings, wooden carvings, pottery, ivory carvings, sculptures and marble/bronze statues including one rare statue of God Brahma.
  • The second floor is exclusively dedicated for clay models and art of works from different communities of India.
  • The museum houses some of the rarest collections of artifacts concerning history of Mumbai together with maps, antique photographs, paintings and models.
  • The Museum's collection of decorative arts shows the depth and knowledge of craftsmanship and expertise in West Indian and Mumbai people along with other communities.
  • The newly added attraction includes an exclusive artwork of gold gilded striking pillars and gild staircase.
  • Being located in Byculla locality of Mumbai, transportation by bus, taxi or train is always available.
  • Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum has introduced a one-year post PG Diploma curriculum in Modern and Contemporary Indian Art History. (Covers since 1850)
  • The curriculum is intended to enable students to understand Indian art in a comprehensive way in terms of history, politics, sociology and cultural studies.
  • The study course is a wonderful endeavor. It will enable aspirants to pursue professions such as being Exhibition Managers, Art Historians, Museum Curators, Critics, Writers as well Art Educators.


Indian design and craftsmanship of 19th century had an incredible international acceptance and the contribution of this esteemed museum is great because it provides knowledge about the ancient art and culture of Mumbai as well as India.

This gallery exhibits the evolution in art and culture of the people of Mumbai from a marshy group of islands known as Heptanesia in Roman period to a more developed gracious and graceful 19th century Mumbai. The wide-ranging collection of maps, ancient photographs, watercolors are quite attractive and take one back to 19th century Mumbai.

Photographs of striking old bungalows, unhindered views of the Arabian Sea, wide tree-lined roads along with impressive institutional buildings highlight the vitality of urban architecture of Mumbai. This Museum building houses brilliant collections of paintings, objects and pottery items from that period.

Founders' Gallery exhibits the story of those outstanding citizens who dedicated their lives to establish this legendary. These portraits have been placed as a compliment. They include some prominent personalities, including Dr. Bhau Daji Lad, George Buist, Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, Juggonath Sunkersett, Kamalnayan Bajaj and George Birdwood.
Kamalnayan Bajaj Gallery shows the story of the origin of Mumbai and thereafter its development during 18th, 19th as well as early 20th century by means of models and dioramas. The gallery offers a comprehensive idea about the lifestyle of Mumbai’s people, occupation and games that they preferred apart from their leisure time activities including music, dance and religious life.

There are models and dioramas exhibiting the town planning, village life as well agricultural practices covering the 19th Century. Numbers of Indian regiments of this period are also exclusively documented here.

Other Recreations

The museum building incorporates a Museum Shopping hub with a view to support and develops craftsmanship as well Indian art and design. The Shop has extensive range of products including handmade and painted mugs, key chains, T-shirts, etc. The items are sold on non-commercial basis. The newly added Museum Plaza makes the Museum more complete by arranging extensive programs of theatre, education, filmmaking and other projects. It hosts traditional and contemporary dance, music for entertaining the audience. The Plaza houses a Museum Cafe that aims to make people experience the cuisines as well culinary varieties of the people of Mumbai. The Cafe is also a place for people to relax.

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