A much awaited trip to the National Museum of Malaysia @ Kuala Lumpur

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The National Museum of Malaysia has always been the place I’ve always wanted to go since I was small. I have been visiting museums from a young age and would always be fascinated by the artefacts on display and the history behind them. So, naturally I had high expectations for the National Museum of Malaysia.

How to get there?

You can either drive or take the train to MRT Muzium Negara station or take any of the train lines to KL Sentral and walk there. When I visited, I took the train to KL Sentral as the station and the museum was within walking distance.

My experience

When I visited the National Museum, the first thing I noticed was that the front entrance had some sketchy characters walking about and there were also police vehicles parked right outside the museum. The staircase leading up to the museum had also been sealed off with police tape. From a distance, they looked like those robbers you would see in movies as they had on the black ski mask, fully black clothing and a rifle on their back. This scared me quite a bit but upon further inspection, it turns out that they were just filming a scene for a movie inside the National Museum.

Wanting to enter the main building of the museum was quite a headache. Logically, the big doors at the front would be the main entrance. However, there were signs pasted everywhere to follow the arrow on the signs to get to the ticket counter. Because of those signs, I had to walk back and forth multiple times just to find out later that the ticket counter had been in front of the main building all this while.

The main building

Because they were filming a scene in the main hall of the museum, there were lots of clutter by the doors and getting around was a challenge. This is because when they’re filming, we can’t actually walk freely or make any noise and furthermore, getting from one gallery to another requires passing through the main hall. There are 4 galleries in total in the main building. There are the Prehistoric Gallery, Malay Kingdoms Galley, Colonial era Gallery and Malaysia Today Gallery. More detailed information on each of these galleries can be found on their official website.

In all honesty, I was expecting more artefacts to be on display in the National Museum of Malaysia as I was under the assumption that it was here that artefacts or even replicas of the artefacts found from each state in Malaysia would be accumulated here. Instead, I was left disappointed as even though the museum looked massive from the outside, the inside was not used to its full potential.

Personally, I feel that there were too many walls of texts and images. I enjoy going to museums because of the fact that this is the only place where I can see artefacts in person. Furthermore, I also feel that the states of Malaysia are under-represented. For example, in the case of Kedah, this is the state where paddy farming was very prominent. To my disappointment, there were little to no representation of that fact. The museum isn’t very well maintained as well. The air conditioning for most galleries were under maintenance, making the galleries feel quite warm and uncomfortable.

But on the bright side, there were some artefacts that I found quite interesting. For example, the tin animal currency. For me, the various shapes people would forge tin into to make money was quite fascinating. From what I can remember, there was a tin animal currency in the shape of a grasshopper. And the design of it was quite intricate, given that they had to forge it by hand, without access to modern day tools.

Behind the main building

Outside the main building of the museum, there is a separate building that is located behind the main building that houses the music gallery which is permanent and the temporary galleries that will be there for a limited time only.

There is no entrance fee for these galleries!

Music Gallery

I found this gallery to be quite fascinating. There were many traditional music instruments on display. Often I find myself wondering how did they come up with the idea that a piece of wood can be used to make music.

There’s a massive drum that was used in the XVI Commonwealth Games on display as well.

World of Dragon: Myth & Legend (Dunia Naga: Mitos & Lagenda)

This is one of the temporary galleries that will be here until 30th October 2022. This gallery features everything and anything that relates to dragons. It is here that I realised that the perceptions of dragons in the east is the direct opposite from the west. People of the east hold high respect for dragons as they believe that the existence of dragons benefits them whereas the people of the west treat dragons as beasts of battle.

The artefacts here were so detailed down to the scales of the dragons on the hilts of the keris, spears, pottery and so on so forth.

The Power of Gold Exhibition (Pameran Kuasa Emas)

This is other temporary gallery that was available at the time of writing this post. This gallery will only be available until 18th August 2022. This gallery features artefacts of all kinds that are made from gold or contains gold.

Outdoor exhibitions

Sadly I forgot to take some pictures for this part. It is here where I saw how transportations evolved as time passed by. It ranges from a bullock cart to the trishaw to the first Proton Saga made in Malaysia. There were also 3 different locomotives on display.

So is it worth visiting?

My answer would be yes but don’t have too high expectations. I feel that the national museum should at least feature the uniqueness of each state and their rich history more. However, their existing galleries do provide an insightful view of how Malaysia progressed through each era as a whole. Although I do not see myself going back to the main museum for quite some time, I will surely pay the temporary galleries a visit often if and when they change the exhibitions.

Check out the food nearby:

Entrance fee (Main building only!)

MyKad Holders (Malaysians)Foreigners
AdultRM2RM5
Children below 6 years oldFreeFree
Children aged 6-12 years oldFreeRM2
Elderly and Disabled (OKU)RM1RM1
High School Students Dressed in UniformFree
International Council of Museums Members (ICOM)FreeFree
Prices as listed in the official Muzium Negara’s website as of time of posting

Visiting Hours

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Everyday except the first Monday of each month)
Closed on the first 2 days of Raya Aidil Fitri and the first day of Raya Aidil Adha.

Address

03 2267 1000

Jabatan Muzium Malaysia
Jln Damansara
Perdana Botanical Gardens
50566 Kuala Lumpur
Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur

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