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Mumbai has a layered maritime history that dates back to the days before the colonial era. Now a museum is coming up inside the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) premises that will showcase this.
The plan was initially submitted to the MbPT by the civil society organisation Apli Mumbai in 2018. The proposal included a small museum inside a 19th century dock tower located near the Domestic Cruise Terminal. The 14m tall tower was built in 1890 to keep a watch on ships entering and leaving the port and is also used as a tide gauge.
A larger museum space will be set up inside the more than 100-year-old Ghariyal Ghar (a name that come from the large clock visible beyond the port trust’s compound wall) in Carnac Bunder. It's interesting to note that the port traffic office had witnessed and withstood the famous explosion at Victoria Dock in 1944 when it had rained gold coins, and several hundred people had lost their lives.
Visitors to the museum can view artefacts related to the history of the Mumbai harbour, contributions of Portuguese and British colonisers, the development of seven islands into the present-day city and what life was like aboard the Navy and merchant ships that docked here. These will include maritime paraphernalia like old ship lamps, deck clocks, side lights, fire-fighting equipment, and photos. Right now, these items are in the care of the Chharapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), the Navy, the port trust, and the Shipping Corporation of India.
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