From wayang kulit to ancient artefacts: Check out these virtual museum tours in Malaysia


  • Arts
  • Thursday, 23 Apr 2020

You may have never set foot in any of the major museums in Kuala Lumpur. Now might be the best time to visit one - virtually, of course!

The Department Of Museums Malaysia (DMM) has curated a series of online programmes to keep the movement control order (MCO) period an educational one.

This is a step in the right direction as many tech-savvy museums around the world such as the British Museum in London, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Louvre in Paris began offering virtual tours back in March.

With the MCO in place, all public facilities under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MoTAC), which includes the DMM, have been ordered to close until April 30.

While the museums remain closed for now, here are some online programmes to check out:

Firstly, take a virtual tour of DMM’s past exhibitions, which includes the Regional Gambus Exhibition. It tells the story of the gambus, a short-necked lute which originated in Yemen.

For something more cultural and mysterious, don't miss the Shadow Puppets Exhibition: Symbolism Behind The Screen, where you can learn about the wayang kulit puppet characters, the role of the Tok Dalang (storyteller) and how this traditional art form has survived through the generations.

Finally, visit the Tenun Songket Exhibition, which weaves an intricate and beautiful story of Malaysian textile craftsmanship and history.

If you’re not into virtual museum exhibitions, perhaps a 3D collection of artefacts would interest you. Made available through the Asean Cultural Heritage Archive platform, visitors will have access to 33 artefacts belonging to the DMM. The exhibits include ancient coins, a Nusantara keris collection and Buddhist statues.

Once you click into a specific artefact, you will learn more about the particular artefact, complete with a map on where it was discovered.

The last initiative is called Tanya Kurator (Ask A Curator), an early morning (10am) Facebook Live session with a museum curator every two days. Featuring six curators from various museums, such as Muzium Negara, the National Textile Museum and Muzium Ethnologi Dunia Melayu, the Tanya Kurator session is an information sharing programme where the public can ask questions about each museum’s collections as the curator does a walk through. The series kicked off on April 17 with Muhammad Azam Adnan, a curator from Muzium Negara.

The DMM has also posted two short videos on its Facebook page that shows methods of conserving organic and non-organic collections.

While you’re at it, win some cash prizes by participating in three online competitions organised by the DMM, namely Memories Through Photography Competition: Nostalgia Muzium Negara, a short-video competition called Share Collection Stories and a weekly quiz called Guess The Collection.

The DMM is also planning a "curator battle" challenge for the museums in Malaysia soon.

For more information, visit DMM’s Facebook or http://www.jmm.gov.my/.

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