Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Visiting RBI museum Mumbai

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is India’s official monetary authority, has set up a museum in Maharashtra’s capital city Mumbai. 

The goal of the museum is to provide documentation and preserve the heritage of India’s financial instruments as well as to educate people on the concept of money over the ages. 

In fact, the museum not only showcases currency just from India but also from other parts of the globe & takes you back in time to the time when punched coins existed.

The RBI Museum is a veritable treasure trove, not just in the literal sense because of what it houses – namely, money – but also in the sense of the educational knowledge it provides. This knowledge is imparted not just through exhibits and photographs, but also through interactive displays and multimedia presentations. It is not all boring, believe me! There are 6 wonderful sections in the RBI museum, each interesting in their own way.

Museum Sections
Section 1: Ideas Concepts and Curiosities
As the title of this section implies, you get a first-hand knowledge about how money itself first originated and how it developed over the centuries. Unless you slept during your History class at school, you are probably aware that in ancient times instead of money there existed a system wherein goods were bartered. It is in this section that you can see coins of the Neolithic ages and get a glimpse of coins of varying shapes, sizes and metals. 

Section 2: Indian coinage
It is interesting to see in this section various punch-marked coins. In fact, the silver punch-marked coins issued approximately in the 6th Century B.C. are said to be the earliest documented coins of India. As mentioned in the booklet issued by the museum, these coins were used in the smaller States of North and Central India and were gradually absorbed into the empires of the Magadhan and Mauryan rulers. They issued their own Imperial series of punch-marked coins, each coin having some kind of symbol. Then there are coins from subsequent eras, such as during the reign of the Guptas, the post-Gupta era, etc. You thus see the entire history of coins in this section, very systematically showcased in chronological order. Exhibited in this section are:
  • Punch-marked coins
Punch-marked coins

  • Dynastic coins
  • The coins of the Guptas
  • The post-Gupta era 
Post-Gupta Era coins

  • South Indian coinage
  • The Medieval period
  • British India coinage
British India coinage

  • Republic India Coinage
  • Contemporary coins
  • Commemorative coins
Section 3: Traces how banking evolved from coins to paper money. You will see here not just currency notes but also promissory notes and bills of exchange. Find out all about Hundis too – these were informal written orders used in transactions wherein the person was directed to pay an individual the amount of money specified.

Section 4: Early bank notes
This section has got a superb display of currency notes which were issued by RBI. It is superb because of the manner in which it is displayed – with unique lighting that enables you to see the special security features of each note.

Section 5 and Section 6: Supply and demand management of money
The role of RBI is explained here and you get to know about foreign trading transactions too. You get a better understanding about the changing face of global currencies.

Interesting features of RBI Museum
  1. Money games help kids to learn basic facts and features of coins and currencies – grown-ups should play them too!
  2. Interactive sessions can be organized for students of schools and colleges
  3. Multimedia presentation titled Story of Indian Paper Money can be arranged with prior request
  4. Seminars are arranged for students
  5. Quiz contests are arranged for Mumbai school students, with the winners receiving a memento & a certificate of participation.
  6. Before leaving don’t forget to buy the interesting brochures, each costing just Rs.5/- : 

  • Indian Coinage - an Overview
  • India’s Contemporary Currency – Know your notes and coins
  • Precious Signatures - signatures of all the RBI Governors.
Information for Visitors
1. Facilities
  • Guides for groups
  • Lockers to keep your belongings while you tour the museum (photographs not allowed so you will need to leave your camera in the locker)
  • Drinking water
  • Washrooms
  • Parking slots available nearby (best to call up before visiting to confirm the parking slot is available, as the slots are limited) 
2. Entry fee: no fees. Entry is free for all
3. Closed days: Monday and all Bank holidays 
4. Timings: 10.45a.m. to 5.15p.m.

Location and Contact Information of RBI Museum
Address: Amar Building, ground floor, Sir P.M. Road, Fort, Mumbai-400001. Landmark: adjoining the Reserve Bank main building.
Ph: 022-22614043 / Fax: 022-22702820
Curator: Dr. P.V. Radhakrishnan

So is it worth a visit? Yes! It will take just one hour to tour all the exhibits and it is not at all a boring exhibition. 

Important: you are not allowed to take photos / videos inside the museum. The photos in this blog are taken from the brochures bought at the museum.

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