When it comes to museums in Mumbai, the big three usually come to mind, the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. However, Mumbai has a few smaller specialist museums worth considering when you’re wondering about places to check out on the weekend. Here’s a short list of four such institutions. For more on things to do in Mumbai, visit BookMyShow.
BEST Transport Museum
There’s a reason few know about or visit this museum even though it has been around since 1983, first in Kurla and from 1993 at its present location in Anik bus depot in Wadala. It’s in an out-of-the-way spot in a part of the city few have any reason to go other than watch a movie at IMAX, and barely maintained. But for local history buffs, it’s worth taking the effort to visit. The museum has a splendid collection of archival material such as models of buses and trams, models of bus stops, old bus and tram seats, tickets and vintage photographs. For instance, from the images you learn that the BEST used to have showrooms from which people could buy electrical appliances such as refrigerators.
Where: Anik bus depot, Third Floor, Wadala. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm; Thursday, Friday, Saturday, closed.
Haffkine Institute Museum
In 2014, the Haffkine Institute in Parel opened a little museum on its premises to make the public aware of what it does. The Institute, housed in a bungalow that in the nineteenth century was the address of the governor of Bombay, carries out research on infectious diseases and produces anti-rabies and anti-snake venom serums and the polio vaccine. The museum has somewhat eerie yet fascinating specimens of snakes and insects, transparent models of microbes and an exhibit explaining the process of cloning.
Where: Haffkine Institute, Acharya Donde Marg, Parel: Tel: 022 2416 0947. Open Monday to Friday from 10.30am to 1pm and 2.30pm to 4pm; Saturday and Sunday, closed.
Mobai Bhavan Museum
Every Fernandes is not a Goan. Some are East Indians, but this is a distinction of which many are unaware even though they’re among the city’s oldest communities. The city’s East Indians gifted themselves a museum showcasing their history five years ago in Manori. Housed in a bungalow, the museum has items traditionally used by East Indians such as clay and metal vessels to store food, pots used to tap toddy and jewellery.
Where: Theresa Villa, Gorai Manori Road, Manori village. Before visiting, call Alphi D’Souza 98200 87771.
Acworth Leprosy Museum
The other museum in Wadala that no one knows about is the Acworth Leprosy Museum, which was opened in 2003 in the Acworth Leprosy Hospital. The museum contains material about the history of the condition in India, medical experiments carried out by two city doctors Bhau Daji Lad and Sakharam A Arjun, and on the early history of the hospital, which was started in 1890 as the Acworth Leper Asylum.
Where: Acworth Leprosy Hospital, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg, Wadala. Tel: 91241 84263.