Prince Of Wales Museum
The Prince of Wales Museum, a joint effort of the government and some prominent citizens of the city, was built to commemorate the visit of the then Prince of Wales and the future King Edward VII. It was inaugurated on January 10, 1922 by Lady Lloyd, the wile of George Lloyd, Governor of Bombay.
But the museum building was completed, long before its opening, in 1915. Its premises were first used as a Children’s Welfare Centre and a Military Hospital in World War I, and then handed over to the committee in 1920.
Located in the heart of South Bombay, the building is surrounded by a garden of palm trees and flower beds. The structure has been built in the Indo-Saracenic style, incorporating elements of other styles of architecture like the Mughal, Maratha and Jain.
The foundation stone was laid in 1905 on a piece of land called the “Crescent Site”. And, following an open design competition, architect George Wittet was commissioned to design the structure In 1909. Wittet had already designed the General Post Office, and would later also design the Gateway of India.
Built of basalt and kurla stone, the museum is a 3-storeyed structure capped by a dome set upon a base, which adds an additional storey in the centre of the building. A cluster of pinnacles, topped with miniature domes surrounds the central dome. Wittet modelled the dome on that of the Golconda Fort and the inner vaulting arches to those at the Got Gumbaz
Approximately 50,000 exhibits of ancient Indian history can be seen here along with objects from foreign lands, categorised primarily into three sections: Art, Archaeology and Natural History.
The museum was formally named the ‘Prince of Wales Museum of Western India’, but was renamed in the 1990s as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. The building is a grade I Heritage Building and was awarded the first prize (Urban Heritage Award) by the Bombay Chapter of Indian Heritage Society for heritage building maintenance, in 1990.