Museums & Libraries

Sarawak Museum (Old Building)

The Sarawak Museum is located adjacent to the Borneo Cultures Museum.

Known also as the ‘old building’ (Ethnology Museum), the museum had undergone renovation and restoration works worth RM28 million in 2020.

The Sarawak museum is now open to the public but visits, or rather tours, are by walk-in bookings based on a first come first serve basis.

About the Sarawak Museum

The Sarawak Museum Old Building was built in 1891 and was extended to its present form in 1911.

The building was especially built to permanently house and display local native arts and crafts and collections of local animals as mainly encouraged by the famous naturalist, Alfred Wallace, who was then collecting specimens in the country.

Photo source: Sarawak Museum

Since its inception, the building has undergone several renovations and alterations. It is rectangular, 44′ x 160′ with walls and pillars of bricks and roof of belian and concrete. It has European architecture of imposing edifice in Queen Anne style (Victorian period). The galleries are lighted by dormer windows on the roof which thus allow a great area of wall space.

During the Japanese Occupation, the museum was put under the direction of a sympathetic Japanese Officer. As a result, the museum suffered very little damage and remarkably little looting.

Today, with carefully planned renovation and proper maintenance, this old building is used as the centre to exhibit collections on the natural history of Sarawak. The ground floor of the museum holds the natural history collection and specimens of Sarawak fauna – reptiles, mammals, birds, etc, all expertly prepared and mounted for display.

The first floor displays exhibits of ethnographic artefacts such as models of longhouses of the various ethnic groups in Sarawak, musical instruments, various kinds of fish and animal traps, handicrafts, models of boats and others.

What to expect from the Sarawak Museum

At writing time, the museum is said to house fine collections of ethnography and natural history, and tells the story of Sarawak’s most important stages of development.

More detail and photos on the museum will be added once the museum reopens.

The Sarawak Museum
The old Sarawak Museum

Opening hours

Monday to Sunday: 10.30 & 2.30PM (15 minute tour)
Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
1st Day of Main Public Holiday, T.Y.T Birthday, Sarawak Day, Labour Day & Malaysia Day: Closed
Admission: Free

How to get to Sarawak Museum

You can walk to the museums if you stay at The Waterfront Hotel Kuching, or Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites.

The map below will help guide you to the museums.  Both museums are located side by side.

Hotels near the Sarawak Museum

As mentioned above, the nearest hotels near the Sarawak Museum are the Waterfront Hotel and Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites.

However, if you need other options, the ones below are highly recommended as well, and are within walking distance from the museums.

Alternatively, you can also check out our hotel listing of thousands of hotels in Kuching in our hotel listing page.

Cyril Dason

Cyril Dason was born and currently lives in Kuching. He loves jungle trekking, clean rivers and chilling out with friends.

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