Milan Kumar (10) can’t wait to go back to the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, where he had his first brush with moulding clay.
“Using a potter’s wheel was thrilling,” said Milan Kumar, a civic school student. “We had never done anything like that before.”
In the midst of a bustling Byculla, the once decrepit museum, is quietly working on a renaissance — hand in hand with children.
During the past year, 30 workshops built around the museum’s silverware and pottery collections have been held for students from civic and private schools and educational NGOs.
Pitched at eight to 14-year-olds, the workshops, conducted in Marathi, Hindi and English are part of the museum’s broader strategy to enliven museums as spaces that engage people.
“Museums are fundamental to society and the process of education,” said Tasneem Mehta, the museum’s honorary director and managing trustee. “They can be used to further cognitive learning,” she added.
At the museum, students were introduced to the pottery collection and participated in a workshop to design clay pots in the garden.
“The whole point was to make the museum objects come alive for the kids,” said Purnima Sampat, who helped conceptualise the workshops.
For the civic school students and NGOs, the workshops are free.
Many of these children, unlike their counterparts in private schools had never seen such silverware before.
“Thus it is important for us to pitch the workshop to suit participants,” added Sampat.
Students are lapping up this hands-on, audio-visual approach to history and art.
“It’s exciting to learn by doing something with our hands,” said Sofia Samee (10), a DY Patil International School student.
The museum is also working on a heritage club, an online magazine for children, a family day and a children’s centre.