Monday, June 14, 2010

Mumbai to get its first museum of Christian art in Goregaon

From old wooden statues of Christian saints to delicately-crafted church candle stands preserved down the centuries, a new museum coming up in the city promises to record and recount the history of Christianity in Mumbai.
The Archdiocesan Heritage Committee (AHC), the heritage conservation wing of the Archdiocese of Bombay, has started work on a museum of Christian art on Goregaon’s St Pius seminary grounds, and hopes to launch it by November.
AHC announced its plans for the museum at a seminar on the history of Mumbai’s churches at Bandra's Mount Carmel Church on Sunday.
"We realised that when we would restore heritage church objects and return them to their respective churches, many of them would disappear. The idea of the museum is to salvage those valuable artefacts," said Fr Warner D'Souza, member of AHC, which has been documenting Mumbai's churches since its institution five years ago.
Besides showcasing artefacts, the museum plans to display photographs and documents to help the younger generation learn about the city's Christian history in a more appealing manner.
The Archdiocese has given a grant of Rs 15 lakh for the museum, but D'Souza said that a lot more funds would be required. "This is a museum for the city, and it can succeed only if the city gives back to it."
The museum of Christian art will be Mumbai's second community museum after the Alpaiwala museum of Parsi culture at Hughes Road. It will also be the country's second museum of Christian art — the other one is in Old Goa, said D'Souza.

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