I have had to rely on my memory to write about my visit to the RBI Museum in Mumbai, since photography was not allowed inside their premises. This wonderful monetary museum depicts the evolution of money from 2nd century BC until this day. Founded in 2005, it is run by the Reserve Bank of India and located on the ground level of the RBI premises in Fort, South Mumbai.
What to expect at the RBI Museum Mumbai?
Divided into six sections, the RBI Monetary Museum explains the history of money through definitions, exhibits and info-graphics. It touches base on early barter exchange, metals as mode of payment, coins issued by Indian kings, rulers, princely states and the British. It then moves to the evolution of paper currency, cheques, promissory notes, bills of exchange, establishment of banks and the use of electronic money.
An interesting section displays commemorative coins such as the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel coins, Indira Gandhi coins and Jawaharlal Nehru coins that were circulated on special occasions. The last section closes with a neat explanation of the role and responsibilities of the Reserve Bank of India. It also has a wall of fame of all the Governors of RBI till date.
There are interactive kiosks that take you on a virtual tour of the place and run you through quizzes regarding the objects inside the museum – a good way to involve children! Give yourself a good two hours inside the museum to absorb this historical evolution of Indian currency. For a unique concept, the place is low profile with zero buzz. In spite of choosing to visit the RBI Museum on a Sunday, I had the place all to myself.
Some nuggets of information that remained with me even after my visit as as below:
- Use of Cowry shells and other metallic objects as currency
- India being distinguished with a record of producing the smallest coin in the world and the largest gold coin until 1987
- A gold balance machine on display that was used to weigh gold bars
- A suitcase whose outer surface is made from shredded discontinued currency notes, and ornaments made from discontinued coins.
The RBI Monetary Museum adds flavor to Mumbai’s museum scene. The concept is interesting and having being run by the nation’s central banking institution lends exclusivity to the place. Perhaps, my only disappointment was that I couldn’t take home personally clicked pictures from inside the museum due to their no photography policy.
RBI Monetary Museum Mumbai timings to visit
Reserve Bank of India Monetary Museum
Amar Building (Ground Floor)
Opposite Apna Bazar
Sir Pherozesha Mehta Marg,
Fort, Mumbai – 400 001
Closed on Mondays
Timings: 10:45 am to 5:15 pm
Entrance: Free of charge
Photography not allowed
Cell phones must be switched off
Your Bags may need to be left in their lockers
Don’t forget to make a quick stop to the iconic Asiatic Society Town Hall, which is barely five minutes away from RBI Monetary Museum.
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