Some time in 1985, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was passing by Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur in a car when a beautiful neo-classical building caught his attention. That chance encounter would change the course of history forever – it prevented the building from being torn down.
Instead, Dr Mahathir proposed that the structure be conserved as a national heritage.
That building is the present Telekom Museum in KL today. Thanks to Dr Mahathir, the country’s telecommunications history and equipment are preserved in pristine conditions within this interactive museum.
Why you should go
Ever wondered what cellular phones looked like before the existence of flashy smartphones with 12-megapixel cameras and waterproof features? Then you might want to consider a visit here. Tucked all the way at the back of the ground floor is an exhibit of past cellular phones. Some of them come with battery packs the size of a mini luggage while others are as heavy as a brick!
The museum is a one-stop centre for visitors to learn all about the nation’s telecommunications history as well as the industry’s progress and development.
There is also the sheer excitement of being in a structure targeted by enemies of the state.
Built in 1928 as the Central Battery Telephone Exchange, the three-storey building was the model telephone exchange venue at that time.
“During the war, our enemies would target this building as an attack here would cripple telecommunications across the country,” our guide explains.
If that doesn’t send shudders down your spine, then perhaps knowledge that communication used to be done through drums and smoke will.
What to do
The museum is divided into various sections: Early Communications, The Birth of Telecommunications, The Era of Telecommunications and the MomenTM Gallery. Take your time and read the well-written and well-researched information on the panels.
On the second floor, visitors can try out high-speed broadband service as well as check out the gaming consoles. The museum also provides an interactive digital journey. All you need to do is scan a QR code and connect to the museum’s hotspot. This will open up additional interactive approach that might keep the younger ones hooked.
Other than that, just take your sweet time roaming around and checking out the various exhibits. They range from the evolution of morse code telegraph to digital technology.
Who will like it
With the ease of our current smartphones, it’s easy to dismiss telecommunications as something that’s a given. For tech geeks, a trip here might be an eye-opening visit that uncovers the work that goes into the making of today’s latest gadgets.
Students might also learn a thing or two here. The museum has an educational package which allows you to stay overnight in the building. This package includes meals, sleeping bags, activities and access to KL Tower. It’s an option to consider for some well-rounded extracurricular activity.
This museum is walking distance from touristy sites like Bukit Bintang and Central Market.
The GOKL City Bus provides free bus service. Please ensure that you take the bus that is on the purple route.
For LRT users, Masjid Jamek is the closest station. Upon reaching the station, you need to look for the Raja Chulan exit.