Visiting museums in the cool comfort of the night will become a reality in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia towards the end of 2018 under a programme implemented by the Department Of Museums Malaysia (JMM).

Carried out in collaboration with the National Department For Culture And Arts and Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, the visits will add a new dimension to KL’s night tourism, and will be a novel experience for visitors and both history and culture buffs.

Dubbed Museum Night Trail-Amazing Museums By Night, the programme will be an annual fixture in the capital city’s diary of events, with the first outing slated for November 2018.

JMM held a pre-launch event recently for about 25 members of the Malaysian media to give them a preview of the three-hour trail covering the National Textile Museum, Royal Museum and National Museum. Also present were Tourism And Culture Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Yean Yoke Heng and JMM director-general Datuk Kamarul Bahrin Kasim.

‘It is a unique initiative as more people can visit when museums operate after hours,’ says Datuk Yean Yoke Heng (in black), Tourism and Culture Ministry deputy secretary-general, during a visit to the National Textile Museum. Photo: Bernama

Yean said the night museum trail, a common feature in major cities worldwide, has the potential to boost visitor numbers.

“It is a unique initiative as more people can visit when museums operate after hours. Not only does it add more variety to KL’s night tourism products, it will also enable locals who are busy during the day to take their families on museum visits,” he said.

He said it would be a fun-filled and educational experience as visitors get to watch cultural performances and traditional cooking demonstrations that they rarely witness in the city.

Stressing that his ministry was always striving to boost the tourism sector and turn Malaysia into a world-class travel destination, Yean said local museums were among the assets that held immense tourism value.

The idea for the night museum trail was mooted after the success of Night At The Museum, a programme introduced by the National Museum in 2005. (That programme is open to school and college students aged 13-18 and allows them to spend a night at a museum to get to know more about the collections.)

Kamarul Bahrin, a strong proponent of museum sleepovers, said the positive response to Night At The Museum spurred them to come up the Museum Night Trail programme. He said it will be held on the first and third Saturday of November and December 2018

The idea for the night museum trail was mooted following the success of the Night At The Museum programme – for students – introduced by the National Museum in 2005. Photo: The Star/Low Lay Phon

The trail start at 8pm and end at the National Museum on Jalan Damansara at 11pm, where the visitors will be treated to cultural performances. “We are confident this programme will have a good impact on museum-going activities,” he said.

Kamarul said they were targeting about 60-70 tourists for the trail, and that other local museums, like the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia and Royal Malaysian Police Museum, were encouraged to participate in the programme.

In the recent preview of the night trail, the first stop at the Textile Museum on Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin included visits to selected galleries that covered the textile development history of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, and various ethnic groups in Sabah and Sarawak.

After 45 minutes, the media group departed for the Royal Museum on Jalan Istana, which served as the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong from 1957-2011.

The stately museum allows visitors to get a taste of palace life, and visit the Balairong Seri or throne room where the customary and official ceremonies used to be held, as well as acquire some information on the history of the nation’s Malay rulers.

The final stop on the trail was the National Museum, where the group viewed the historical relics of the Malay archipelago administrations. – Bernama