Bank Negara offers Malaysians virtual access to old money

  • Travel
  • Monday, 04 Oct 2021

Visitors can design their own coin at one of the museum’s virtual exhibitions. — BNM MAG

The Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery (BNM MAG) may have temporarily closed its doors amid the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the gallery from continuing to engage with visitors.

In the first six months of this year, BNM MAG has launched three new virtual exhibitions and an art bazaar, as well as numerous online programmes and e-competitions.

The virtual exhibitions include Works on Metal: Art Inside the Wallet, SCARCITY: A Matter of Priority and KERINGAT: Tales of our Forefathers.

BNM acting director (hospitality and museum department) Noreen Zulkepli said the museum has managed to move forward under new norms.

“BNM MAG is among the earliest museums in the country to digitalise its exhibitions and educational programmes, which have been available online for a while now,” she said in a statement.

Noreen, however, admitted that the restrictions to curb the coronavirus was a challenge initially.

“The halting of physical exhibitions and in-person educational initiatives such as school visits, guided tours and outreach programmes as a result of the pandemic, has been an unprecedented challenge for us.

“This new norm has, however, provided us with opportunities to explore new and innovative forms of engagement,” she said.

Located within the Sasana Kijang building located on Jalan Dato’ Onn in Kuala Lumpur, the museum is spread over four levels. Its galleries feature themes on the Malaysian economy, the bank’s role in the nation’s economic development and financial landscape since pre-independence to the present-day.

According to Noreen, the museum will be adopting a hybrid system of its exhibitions.

“Despite the current situation, we intend to move forward with our line-up of exhibitions and educational programmes and are prepared to adapt under a hybrid setup where delivery will be done via physical as well as virtual platforms,” she said.

Noreen added that BNM MAG will continue to partner with educational institutions.

“Our successful collaborations with schools, colleges and universities to organise various talks and competitions virtually have been encouraging with wider outreach. We are also in the middle of making available some of our popular annual events online,” she said.

Here’s what visitors can expect at virtual exhibitions on the website (

Works on Metal: Art Inside the Wallet

This exhibition explores the history of the Malaysian ringgit banknotes and coins issued by BNM. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the historical role of coins as one of the oldest forms of payment. The exhibition also incorporates an interactive element where visitors can design their own coins.

SCARCITY: A Matter of Priority

Those invested in the ongoing climate change crisis would have much to learn from this exhibition. Visitors will be able to explore the correlation between climate change and scarcity through images, videos, and interactive activities. The exhibition also features a role-playing activity and case studies of environmental issues around the world.

KERINGAT: Tales of our Forefathers

Explore the chronology of events that have shaped Malaysia’s socio-economic development through a range of impressive artworks on this exhibition. Visitors can explore 53 paintings and photographs that showcases the work of our forefathers from the colonial era in Malaya up to the 1980s. Some of the renowned artists featured include Yong Mun Sen, Abdullah Ariff, Chuah Thean Teng and Mohd Salehuddin.

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