I had the chance finally to visit my country’s national museum recently. Known as ‘Muzium Negara’ in our national language, I must say that it was basically my high school history lesson in the flesh, except better – because you get a more visual experience. Some may say museums are boring but I found it very educational and a slightly emotional experience.
According to their official website muziumnegara.gov.my, the museum is, in a nutshell, a “supporter of the conservation and preservation of heritage collections of national treasures.” Located in Damansara Road in Kuala Lumpur, the biggest city in Malaysia, the museum operates from 9am to 6pm every day. It is cheap to access – a mere RM5 for one person, and Malaysian citizens only pay RM2. That’s a really good steal, I would say.
The whole museum is divided into 4 areas, ranging from the pre-historics to the more recent modern-day Malaysia. There were a lot of lessons to be learned. Personally, I marveled at the arts and crafts of the pre-historic times. I was fascinated by the things I saw in the flesh that I only read about in history books in school – and almost everyone would agree that a 15-year-old would find not much motivation to listen in class because of the lack of imagery (and interest, back then). It made me wonder about how people could dress the way they did back then – with weird wooden shoes and heavy necklaces made of stone. It made me wonder about lives back then – how much people killed with the variety of weapons that changed and upgraded with the times, and also the many lives that were lost. It saddened me to see the time when our country was in a state of emergency where citizens were forced by the enemies to kill their own. How did they feel? I felt an overwhelming sense of luck because I am born in a different year and time altogether, but did my ancestors go through it? Finally, it touched me to read the speech of our first Prime Minister, known as Father of Malaysia, on the day our country was declared independent. I actually had goose bumps.
Anyway, I would like to share about some of the things I personally found rather interesting in this particular museum.
Beads from the Bronze Metal age found in Peninsular Malaysia.
The ‘cop mohor’ – an official seal for formal documents used back in the days and through the magnifying glass provided you can see the fine intricate details designed on the seal.
Animal-shaped tin used as ‘money’ – how cool is that?
A beautifully-crafted multipurpose knife.
The museum hosts a variety of activities and while I was there, they had a ‘Pameran Gambus’ – a lute exhibition showcasing a wide range of different lute varieties.
A traditional Malaysian game – I used to play this a lot as a child back in school, collecting five of the best looking pebbles from around the field compound.
Wow I was surprised! Who would have thought to play a musical instrument through their nose?
Organic hair accessories made out of dried leaves.
In my opinion, museums are awesome – you get ‘transported’ back in time, place or situation. You open your eyes to history and your roots, feel what people felt back then and most importantly, you fill your mind with a better understanding of the world, yourself and what it took for the world to be where it is now.