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Sarawak Museum, Kuching

The Sarawak Museum Campus includes the Sarawak Museum Old Building, Natural History Museum, and Art Museum.

Currently, the old museum and the new museum is closed to the public.

The old Sarawak Museum is closed for restoration and renovation works, while the new Sarawak Museum is still under construction.

THE SARAWAK MUSEUM OLD BUILDING

The old building (Ethnology Museum) in undergoing conversations and restorations works.  These works cost RM28 million and is expected to be completed in June 2020.

Until the works are completed, the Sarawak museum will be closed to the public.

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

The Sarawak Museum
The Sarawak Museum Old Building

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.

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 artifacts 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.

OPERATING HOURS

Monday to Friday: 9:00 am – 4:45 pm
Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
1st Day of Main Public Holiday, T.Y.T Birthday, Labour Day & Malaysia Day: Closed
Admission: Free

THE NEW SARAWAK MUSEUM CAMPUS

The new museum is located on the site that previously had the Dewan Tun Abdul Razak. It is also known as Sarawak Museum Campus.

The cost to build the new campus is RM308 million, and it was first planned to open in December 2020.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the museum complex which was handed over to the Sarawak government in May 2019 had its opening pushed back to April 2021.

It is conceptualized as an iconic building, boasting not only a strong visual and aesthetic expression but also responding to its functional need as a practical and welcoming public place for all.

The design complement the existing Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building with the distinctive gold colour of the museum’s roof and façade cladding chosen to match the DUN’s colour scheme.

The solid part of the facade is designed with an abstract reinterpretation of weavings in Sarawak, in reference to the museum’s role as the keeper and presenter of the state’s cultural heritage.

The new building is built to have five floors with the ground floor allocated for cafeteria, children’s gallery (1st floor), and exhibition area (2nd, 3rd and 4th floors).

The exhibition area covers  a total space of 6,000 sq meters. It will include sections for ethnography, archaeology and archives.

ATTRACTIONS IN THE SARAWAK MUSEUM

At writing time, it was reported that some 1,600 cultural artifacts would be displayed in the Sarawak Museum.

The third floor of the museum will be known as the Borneo Cultures Museum with attractions such as a Melanau burial pole, known also as ‘kelidieng’, a Punan burial pole called ‘kejaman’ and the Iban war boat.

HOW TO GET TO THE 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 MUSEUM AREA IN KUCHING

As mentioned above, the nearest hotels near the Sarawak Museum Campus 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.

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