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Mapping Memories

Friday, June 01, 2018

A recent workshop explored stories and perspectives of the evolution of the city through Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museums's collection of old maps

How about a walk down the corridors of time using maps as a guideline?  On the heels of International Museum Day on May 18, came the call for a repeat session, by popular demand, for a Mapping Memories workshop held at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla.   The walkthrough began with a guided tour through the picturesque Museum describing the relevance of the exhibits. 

We explored the stories and perspectives of the evolution of the Mumbai, as we know it today through the Museum’s collection of old maps. I was fortunate enough to catch up at the same 3D relief map that we had studied for a summer programme through college in the ’80s.  The exhibits, which display the pride the British took in the commercial hub, going back to the 18th century, is evident.  They mark the city from a cluster of seven islands or Heptanesia (stopping short at Bandora—the start of the suburbs) to the development of the port of Bombay to its changing identity over the century.  The talk informed us about the features of the maps and the detailing through the key through the historical journey of the city.

The workshop was free and open to anyone above seven years.  It was delightful to see the turnout, a mix of inquisitive kids with questions that engaged the adults in the group and our enthusiastic guide who tried to satiate their curiosity.  The tour culminated in jogging the mind's association, with various aspects of places, back from childhood recording each participant’s unique memories.  This was plotted with material like ice cream sticks, string, colours and what have you on drawing sheets at the outhouse devoted for collaborating special exhibitions and workshops.  The participants’ mapping of their personal connect calls for a sequel.

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