Those who commute regularly on the MRT in the Klang Valley might know Muzium Negara better these days as one of the stops along the rail line. Once you alight from the train, though, you will find the charming museum building just a few steps away.
Its role as a custodian of the country’s history aside, the museum’s two-storey building also has an illustrious background.
Built on the site of the former Selangor Museum, a part of the present building was “accidentally” bombed by the Allied Forces during World War II. There’s a rumour among some museum staff that loud unexplained booms can be heard late at night. Could it be ghostly echoes from a violent past?
If you’re curious to find out, the Department of Museums do hold an annual event for visitors to spend a night at the museum. More details can be found on the museum’s official website (muziumnegara.gov.my). The catch is you will need to be a school student. For those who are done with school, a visit to Muzium Negara in the daytime can be a wonderful experience too.
Why you should go
Malaysia has gone through many stages of history, all of which are told in great detail at the National Museum. The collections are displayed across four galleries: Early History, Malay Kingdoms, Colonial Era and Malaysia Today.
Some upgrades are due for some of the exhibits, but there’s plenty of heart that goes into the curated collection. Visitors will be able to see the multicultural element that makes the country unique at the Malaysia Today gallery. Meanwhile, the Early History gallery thrills with its collection of various burial pots and ancient weaponry.
What to do
Start your tour at the Early History Gallery on the ground floor, where you can track the origins of the country’s earliest inhabitants. The space outlines discoveries from the Palaeolithic Ages and Hindu-Buddhist relics of Lembah Bujang. One notable artefact here is the Dong Son bronze bell.
Then, move on to the Malay Kingdoms gallery. Entering the gallery is special as you will be stepping past a grand doorway. Look out for the statue of Avalokitesvara and a mural that depicts the hero Hang Tuah.
The second floor houses the Colonial Era and Malaysia Today galleries. The former charts the administration of foreign powers while the latter features the country’s independence journey. Head outdoors and you will find more wonderful exhibits.
Free guided tours are also available with prior reservation.
Who will like it
Those with an appreciation for history will have plenty to marvel at here. For Malaysian school students, tracking the history of the Melaka sultanate and the country’s colonial past might be a better option than just reading about it in textbooks.
As far as connectivity is concerned, Muzium Negara is easily accessible by a host of public transportation (LRT, KTM and buses) thanks to its proximity to KL Sentral. If you’re travelling by the MRT, get off at the Muzium Negara station.
Jalan Damansara, Tasik Perdana
50566 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2267 1000 (ext: 321/317)
Opening hours: 9am to 6pm. Closed only on Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha.