Back to colonial days


Elegance of a bygone era: Statues outside the Colonial Penang Museum in Jalan D.S. Ramanathan.

ANTIQUE lovers and history enthusiasts will find themselves in a time machine back to the 18th century when they visit the newly opened Colonial Penang Museum.

Set up by the Ma family, the museum has more than 1,000 well-preserved antiques and artefacts including a 1794 parchment with the handwriting of founder Captain Francis Light.

Even before you step into the place in Jalan D.S. Ramanathan, you will notice a classic American automobile — a 1929 Dodge Senior Landau — at the entrance.

Museum director Eric Ma, 47, said his family spent around RM3mil to renovate and restore the dilapidated building.

“The artefacts have been with us for three generations.

“We also have some Peranakan artefacts,” he said.

Among the other notable exhibits are Belle Epoque furniture by Francois Linke, a white carara marble item by Atelier R. Bigazzi Florence, East Indian-styled furniture and a pair of Nyonya bridal tables (only four pieces available in the world).

Historical charm: Visitors admiring East Indian-styled furniture at the Colonial Penang Museum. Seen in the background is a half-moon stained glass panel made by William Morris (1834 -1896), founder of the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain.
Historical charm: Visitors admiring East Indian-styled furniture at the Colonial Penang Museum. Seen in the background is a half-moon stained glass panel made by William Morris (1834 -1896), founder of the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain.

Visitors can also admire a 1919 Asprey Silver crystal ladies vanity dressing table set and stained glass windows.

The family is also in the midst of erecting 30 architectural columns and pillars from the Victorian and Edwardian eras at the lawn.

They are also putting up a tree house for visitors to get a bird’s eye view of the entire place.

It is expected to be completed before March.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the museum would be one of the main attractions for tourists in Penang.

“Although we may not agree with the British colonisation back then, let us accept that this is part of our history,” Lim said in his speech.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz had previously said that he was overwhelmed with the Ma family’s collection and efforts should be taken to ensure that the treasures did not leave Malaysia.

The museum is open daily from 9.30am to 6.30pm.

The entrance fee is RM30 per adult while the fee for children aged five to 12 is RM15 per child.

MyKad holders will need to pay RM20 for adults and RM12 for children.

For more information, contact 017-6662789, or email general@colonialpenangmuseum.com.

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