Though I love to read Greek mythology and the British’s War Of Roses, I sometimes do wish to know about my own culture, and where I ‘came from’. Not literally, but you get what I mean. Malaysia is a country filled with stories and artefacts, so influenced by the various cultures that have passed through, settled down, or resulted from the true natives. It’s time to get cultured about our own culture with these unique museums:
1. Rainforest Discovery Centre
This discovery centre is a living museum of Borneo’s rain forest and is the perfect place to witness specimens in their natural habitats. It also acts as a reserve of sorts for much of Borneo’s unique wildlife with minor replanting and controlled climates, educating those who visit on the wide array of deep rain forest plants that usually take hours and expert eyes to spot in the wild. It is also a neighbour to the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, whom they collaborate with in hopes to keep the remaining relevant tourist attracts well-looked after and funded.
2. Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Ever fascinated with Islamic Arts? This place houses the largest growing collection of Islamic art and artefacts from all around the world and is the best place to explore the Islamic culture within Southeast Asia, focusing mainly on China, India, and the Malay regions. It also has an extensive showcase of Islamic motifs throughout time and culture, from the religion’s roots in Persia and the Middle East to its status as modern Malaysia’s national religion.
3. Sarawak Natural History Museum
This museum started out as a passion project by a British naturalist, Alfred Wallace, to collect new wildlife specimens of the strange and yet largely unexplored island of Borneo. It then turned into Sarawak’s oldest museum, growing in showcases of the indigenous inhabitants from different tribes. This place is also one of the few businesses to endure extreme looting and damage during the Japanese occupation in WWII. But today, this museum remains one of the most beautiful examples of the 19th-century Victorian architecture in the state and hosts locally sources exhibits.
4. Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum
The Baba and Nyonya culture in Malaysia always fascinated me. This place details the history of the Chinese-Malay Uninion that formed the rich and unique Peranakan culture. It also works hard to preserve much of the 19th century Malay during which the Peranakan heritage thrived. What’s cooler? This museum is located in a pre-WWII clan house and stands out as one of the best-kept remnants of the old Malaya, delving into the lives of these interracial descendants.
5. Pinang Peranakan Mansion
This place details the diverse and distinct Penang communities in a refurbished mansion that once belonged to one of Penang’s richest Chinese clan. It found a new life as a home for the prevailing multiracial society in Malaya. The museum’s restored richness will give those who visit awareness into the impact of Chinese culture on the surrounding local population.
As a child, I loved Petrosains. It played a (small) part in the nerd that I am today. This Discovery Centre is the pride of PETRONAS and is a modern style museum dedicated to educating future generations on the science and industries of oil, gas and water works. This uniquely curated centre is full of interactive displays and is situated within one of KL’s best malls; The PETRONAS Twin Towers. So if you ever want to go there and nerd out, the rest of your family can just drop you off there whilst they shop, drink and drink extravagantly.
7. National Museum of Malaysia
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Last but not least, is this famous museum which offers special regional collections with relics and archaeological finds dating back to the prehistoric eras. Discover Malaysian pre-culture witness the rise and decline of ancient maritime and agricultural kingdoms. It also features a collection of aboriginal produce in a separate building nearby, mainly from the rural regions of Peninsular Malaysia.