‘Children have identified the values the world needs the most’

Quality time: Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America, spends time with young curators of the Children's Museum at CSMVS in Fort on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Prashant Waydande

Eight-year-old Sarah Patel, along with 24 other children now knows what the word ‘curator’ means. In a short speech on Saturday, Sarah talked about her journey as curator for the city’s first Children’s Museum. Part of the group that has helped put together the Children’s Museum, Sarah was speaking at the museum’s inaugural event. Housed on the grounds of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), the Children’s Museum was formally inaugurated by Brian Moynihan, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Bank of America.

The museum, “an institution by the children and for the children”, has been entirely curated by a group of students aged 8 to 14 years, selected through an inter-school competition held last year in Mumbai.

“Around 2,500 students participated in the competition from whom 25 were selected. They were divided into groups focusing on content development, exhibition and design, museum marketing, publicity and overall supervision,” said Sabyasachi Mukherjee, director general, CSMVS.

Mr. Mukherjee said the project was a rare instance of Mumbai doing something for its children. Emphasising the importance of informal spaces, Mr. Mukherjee said, “The idea was to create a separate and independent space within the [CSMVS] for children who had limited access to informal cultural spaces in the city.”

According to Bilwa Kulkarni, education officer, CSMVS, weekend workshops were held for children for around three months during which they planned and organised the museum.

Crediting the young curators for their vision, Kaku Nakhate, president and Country Head, Bank of America, India, said “Children have identified the values that the world needs the most.” The museum’s five sections are friendship, teamwork, environmental consciousness, peace and courage.

Ananya Sampat, 10, highlighted how the planning sessions were different from ‘boring lectures’. Ananya was pleased about learning how to use colour.

“The ‘Courage’-themed section is in red because anger and bravery are involved and red symbolises it,” she said with a smile. Also part of the curatorial team are Shrija Jajula, 13, and Vivika Puranik, 10, who spoke about the animation film, Out of the Frame created by them and said, “No matter how small you are, anyone can make a change. Age is no limitation to capability.”

Designed by architect Rahul Mehrotra, the museum includes the natural topography of the space.

Explaining the subtlety behind its architecture, Joyoti Roy, head of marketing and strategy, CSMVS, said, “Before construction, this area was like a tree grove. The idea was to incorporate these trees within the structure. You will see a mango tree, and a jackfruit tree growing inside. There is a baobab tree outside the museum, also known as ‘tree of life’ in African culture. The learning and interaction centre is set surrounding this tree.”

Put together at a cost of ₹5 crore, entirely funded by Bank of America, the Children’s Museum includes an amphitheatre, an exhibition facility and a multi-purpose hall – all of which will be formally dedicated to the city on March 29.

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Printable version | Oct 13, 2021 4:17:50 AM |

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