One with nature

Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 11:08 IST | Vinitha | Mumbai

Children's Museum, CSMVS, Fort

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When I think of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), what comes to mind is air, light and space. So, don't blame me for feeling disappointed when we reach the Children's Museum, relegated to the far end of the CSMVS.

There's colour for sure. Coloured windmills that act like breadcrumbs to show the way there. We explore the outdoors first: there are stone benches resembling magical toadstools around the towering Baobab tree, a large dangling nest installation perched with an array of birds, an archaeology pit and a gardening area ready for use. I love the easels perched on the grounds.

Children's Museum, CSMVS, Fort

There are art supplies and paper but perhaps we are in too late. A surly guard shoos us away. The pathway is pebbled, and just before we enter the indoor space, we look at the atrium, all ready for a performance. And thus, we enter a glass house surrounded by greenery.

I'm puzzled. It is grandiose, but minimalist. The Indian parent in me wants to see and show more to the kids. On display are a set of exhibits that have been, apparently, chosen by children.

Children's Museum, CSMVS, Fort

The 22 objects have been selected from the museum's collection and date as far back as the 5th century. There are multi-lingual notes in large clear fonts. The themes are friendship, teamwork, courage, peace and environmental consciousness, and the objects range from the charkha to bronze statues of a dancing Madiya tribe. For the theme Courage there is a 20th-century print of the Rani of Jhansi holding a scimitar. It glows magnificently in a glass case. For 'Peace', a family of seemingly fragile, elegant miniature glass swans are placed.

The softboard is also curated with information, that includes science, political news and environmental journalism. You cannot help but note the mango tree encased in glass that cut through the space that the museum allocated for children. There are large posters on all the activities that will be there only for them.

Children's Museum, CSMVS, Fort

But all three of us gravitate to a shelf which has dolls from different parts of the country, as well as children's books. I find myself touching the puppets warily. But the guards look on stoically and we pick the puppets and turn pages of the book on display.

The banner tells us that the museum will host film screenings, storytelling sessions, poetry clubs, panel discussions, and dance and theatre performances at the amphitheatre. What is there is beautiful, simply beautiful. But I leave wishing there was more.

Children's Museum, CSMVS, Fort

Fact file
Where: The Children's Museum, CSMVS, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort.
Best for: Boys and girls, aged five to 15
How to reach: Alight at CST or Churchgate and head towards Colaba.
Timings: Monday to Sunday, 10.15 am to 6 pm
Budget: Free for children below 12 years of age.
Food: The cafeteria serves great food.
Water: Available, but please carry.
Rest Room facilities: Yes, and pretty clean too.
Where else to go:
Jehangir Art Gallery is nearby. We loved looking at the street art. Across is BHNS, another place to explore with kids. The museum itself has an array of things. The Gateway of India and its boat rides are in the vicinity.

Parent Poll: Wish there was more to do and see.
Rating: ***
Kids' Poll: Loved it; the space was interactive and cool.
Rating: ***

What's Good: That it wasn't cluttered.
What's Not So Good: No staff. Security was surly. The restroom had a plastic potted plant.

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