Lonely Planet Writer

Challenging perceptions at Mumbai's 'slum' museum

A ‘slum’ museum will open in the Mumbai neighbourhood made famous by the film Slumdog Millionaire, with a mission of challenging people’s perceptions of informal settlements.

Dharavi, Mumbai.
Dharavi, Mumbai. Image by M M / CC BY-SA 2.0

The museum will be mobile and will open in February for two months, reports The Hindu, and on display will be pottery, textile and recycled items.

The Design Museum Dharavi is the first museum created in a slum and will showcase “local talent through a nomadic exhibition space and employing design as a tool to promote social change and innovation on a global scale”, according to the project’s website.

Around one million people live in Dharavi and it is one of Asia’s largest slums. Sixty per cent of people in Mumbai live in slums, which occupy only 6% of the city’s land, according to the museum.

The website also notes that the term ‘slum’ ignores the complexity and dynamism of the community and Dharavi’s depiction as a slum “does little justice to the reality”.

The museum hopes to give workers and craftsmen a place to display their work. It states that the main mission of the museum is to “challenge our perception of slums, favelas, barriadas, ghettos and other informal settlements around the world”.

After Slumdog Millionaire became a sensation and won the Oscar for Best Picture, Dharavi became a tourist attraction with guided tours of its workshops, reports The Guardian.

Read more: Meet Mumbai – India’s modern megacity