Thursday, 27 February 2014

A Visit to Malaysia's Oldest Museum

The Perak Museum is the oldest museum in Malaysia. Founded in 1883 by Sir Hugh Low, the forth British Resident of Perak, the museum is also one of the most visited museums in Malaysia. Why is the Perak Museum located in Taiping and not Ipoh, the capital city of Perak, you may ask. Well, Taiping was the state capital of Perak from 1876 to 1937 and was succeeded by Ipoh thereafter. 

Our group consists of about twenty media practitioners, both from the mainstream and new media left Kuala Lumpur for a trip to Taiping earlier this month. I looked forward to this trip as I was always enchanted by this old northern town of Perak. The 300km journey by bus along the North-South Highway took us about four hours to arrive to our first destination, The Perak Museum.

The museum is rich in ethnological, historical, archaeological and ethamobological collections with a total number of 8,474 items. Some of them are classified as rare collections of over a hundred years old such as the animal species like the 'benturong' and 'pulasan', skeletons and scores of animal skeletons and smoked clay which are either totally extinct or extremely hard to find.

The Perak Museum is made up of The Main Gallery, which exhibits current exhibitions of various subjects, The Nature Gallery, The Cultural Gallery and The Indigenous People Gallery. The current exhibition in Main Gallery at the time was The 130th Anniversary Celebration of The Perak Museum. Being the oldest museum in the country obviously has its advantage, and Perak Museum took the opportunity to showcase the documents and artifacts related to the history of the museum itself. Among the interesting artifacts on display were the 

We were lucky to be welcomed and tour-guided by the museum curator, Puan Nur Hanisah Ahmad. Nur Hanisah herself has created a history within the local museum fraternity. She was the first female museum curator, and also one of the youngest, a post she has held for a couple of years. 

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