Hermitage assists JJ School of Arts in design of Mumbai textile museum

28 March 2017 Anushka Sethi
A team from Russia’s most famous museum is assisting in the design of a museum dedicated to the erstwhile mill culture of Mumbai.
Mumbai mill
Mills occupy a special place in the history of Mumbai. Source: Getty Images

The St. Petersburg-based State Hermitage Museum will assist Mumbai’s JJ School of Arts with the final design of an upcoming museum dedicated to Mumbai’s textile industry, The Indian Express reported on March 28.

The JJ School has submitted three designs to Mumbai’s municipal corporation for approval, the paper said.

“They (a team from the Hermitage) have already shared their inputs,” Rajiv Mishra, principal of Sir JJ College of Architecture and Director at the State Directorate of Art, Maharashtra, told the paper. “Once we get the designs approved by the municipal commissioner, we will have a personal meeting with the Russian experts.”

The Hermitage team has recently surveyed the site of the museum, which is in Mumbai’s Kalachowki.

The planned museum will be built on a 61,000 square-metre plot that houses defunct mills. Mumbai had a thriving textile industry and cotton mills from the middle of the 18th century till the late 1980s. The cotton mills provided employment to rural migrants and helped Mumbai (formerly Bombay) earn the nickname ‘Manchester of the East.’

The mills were shut down and the land has been since used for office complexes, shopping malls and luxury hotels and residential towers.

The new museum will include fashion galleries that will display traditional Indian textiles, an amphitheatre for performances reflecting the culture of the mill-worker communities, and food courts serving traditional cuisine, according to The Indian Express.

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the oldest and largest museums in the world and was founded in 1754 by Russian Empress Catherine the Great. 

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