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Tuesday September 21, 2010

Restored building to house museum

A HERITAGE building on Macalister Road near Komtar in George Town has been turned into a branch of the Penang state museum.

The 98-year-old building at 57 Macalister Road was in a derelict state for 15 years before the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) started renovating it in 2001.

Like new: The Penang International Print Exhibition 2010 is now being held at 57, Jalan Macalister.

Council president Patahiyah Ismail said due to the building’s heritage category 2 classification, the RM6.5 million renovation work took six years before it was completed at the end of 2007.

“Time was needed to carefully scrape the previous layers of paints and look for the original tiles,” she said, adding that the building was now sporting its original colour.

Penang Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai, who is also the state museum board’s chairman, said it would take time to promote the building.

“It will take us three to five years to have a good collection of artefacts and collection. However, we will continue our efforts to make this museum an important education source for Penangites and tourists,” he said.

Museum director Haryany Mohamad said no entry fee would be charged for the moment but it would be imposed when there is a good collection of exhibits at the double-storey building.

She expected the entry fee to be higher than the RM1 per person charged at the museum on Farquhar Street.

The Penang International Print Exhibition 2010 is currently being held at the Macalister Road building. It will end on Oct 16.

Haryany said the Penang state art gallery would also use the building to showcase artwork and organise activities involving visual arts.

The MPPP handed over the building to the state museum board in a ceremony last Saturday, which was witnessed by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The building was first used as the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital from 1915 to 1955 when the hospital moved to its present premises on Jalan Residensi.

Lim hoped that the heritage building could become a tool to promote Penang as a vibrant and cultural heritage city.

“I hope that this building will be a museum that can personify our unique culture and heritage with its artefacts and exhibitions.

“We want unorthodox and dynamic displays that can attract the younger generation,” he said in his speech during the handing over ceremony on Saturday.

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