The RBI Monetary museum in Mumbai depicts the evolution of money from 2nd century BC to date. Founded in 2005, the Monetary Museum is run by the Reserved Bank of India. The museum is located on the ground level of the RBI premises in Fort, South Mumbai.
The RBI Monetary Museum is divided into six sections. It explains the history of money through definitions, exhibits and info-graphics. It talks about the earliest barter system, metals as mode of payment, coins issued by Indian kings, rulers, princely states, as well as currency in the British Raj. It then moves to the evolution of the paper currency, cheques, promissory notes, bills of exchange, establishment of banks and the use of electronic money.
There is a section displaying the commemorating coins such as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel coins, Indira Gandhi coins, Jawaharlal Nehru coins, etc. that are circulated on special occasions. The last section in the museum explains the roles and responsibilities of the Reserve Bank of India. There is also a wall of fame listing out all the Governors of RBI till date.
There are interactive kiosks across the museum that offer you a virtual tour. They also run you through quizzes regarding objects inside the museum. This is an excellent way to get involved and learn a lot. The museum should take up at least two hours of your time if you plan to do a thorough visit and learn new things.
The best thing about the museum is that it is pretty low profile and has about no buzz. The place is relatively empty (especially when you compare it to the nearby Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharah Vastu Sangrahalaya)
On my visit here, I learnt, that in earlier times Cowry shells and other metallic objects were used as currency. I also came to know that India has a record of producing the smallest coin in the world as well as the largest gold coin until 1987. There is a gold balance machine on display at the museum which was used to weight gold bars. I also came across a suitcase whose outer surface is made from shredded discontinued currency notes and there were also some ornaments made form discontinued coins.
I found the concept of the Monetary Museum really interesting. The museum has a very strict no photographs policy so there is no clicking pictures once inside the museum.
RBI Monetary Museum Mumbai Address & Timings
Reserve Bank of India Monetary Museum
Amar Building (Ground Floor)
Opposite Apna Bazar
Sir Pherozesha Mehta Marg,
Fort, Mumbai – 400 001
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