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Larry Lam's Guide Note
KUALA LUMPUR

MUZIUM NEGARA (NATIONAL MUSEUM)

(Updated by Cheong Kam Hon.)

The National Museum is located on the site of the old Selangor Museum which was opened in 1906. The old museum was accidentally destroyed in March 1945 when the Allied Forces bombed the railway workshops nearby. From that date until 1952, KL had no museum. A small single storey building (18 metres by 6 metres) was then erected on the old site at the instruction of the British High Commissioner then, Sir Gerald Templer who officially opened it in 1953. It remained the only place in KL for the display of national treasures until 1959 when it was demolished to make way for the present museum.

A number of international experts helped in the planning of the National Museum. Mr Ho Kok Hoe was the architect for its construction. It was officially opened in August 1963. It consists of a large central entrance hall flanked by 2 exhibition wings, giving the apprearance of being raised above the ground on piles. The gable of the entry hall features the Tebar Layar, a 2-part, sloping ventilation space. The blue mosaic tiles which cover the floor of the central hall were designed and manufactured in Pakistan.

The design of the main doors, central bean and beams in the main hall were composed by a Kelantan artist. The panels on the 3 pairs of doors at the entance and the roof beams in the hall were carved by a master craftsman from Terengganu. The windows and decorative panels were based on traditional open-work wood carvings.

The 110 metre long main facade is decorated with 2 giant wall murals designed by a local artist in the style of batik painting. The mural on its right depicts the culture and customs of Malaysians while the one on its left shows the historical episodes of the nation. The murals have been executed in Italian glass mosaic by the best manufacturer in Florence. The entire cost of the mural (about RM135,000), was donated by millionaire philantrophist, the late Dr Lee Kong Chian.

The museum houses four main galleries. Gallery A (on the first floor) traces the discovery of the stone tools of the Palaeolithic Age to the Hindu-Buddhist relics in Lembah Bujang, while Gallery B outlines the history of the early Malay Kingdoms in the Archipelago, with special reference to the Malay Kingdoms of Melaka in the 15th century. Gallery C (on the second floor) charts the coming of the Portuguese, Dutch, British, and Japanese and the subsequent effects on the political, social and economic situation of Malaya. Gallery D guides the visitor through the struggle of the various races for independence of our nation and the achievements of Malaysia til present day.

At the outside of the museum building are outdoor exhibits. These include vehicles, building sturctures and monuments.

The museum is opened daily from 9.00am to 6.00pm. It is closed on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidil Adha. Entrance fee is RM2.00 for adults and children above 12 years. Children in school uniform enjoy free admission.

Please refer to the museum's official website at http://www.muziumnegara.gov.my for more information.


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Last updated: 24th June, 2009.
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