MELAKA: Visitors to museums and galleries have dropped slightly for the first time in almost a decade, according to statistics released by Malaysian Museum Association (MMA).
Some 7.3 million visits were made to 22 museums and galleries throughout the country in 2016, falling short of the eight million figure targetted for last year, said MMA deputy chairman Datuk Khamis Abas.
The decline in 2016 was attributed to the renovation works carried out at several museums in the country.
MMA’s figure did not exclude data from TUDM’s Air Force Museum, Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur, which recently ceased operation.
The National Museum in Kuala Lumpur holds the record of having the highest number, with 3.172 million visitors in 2016 while Melaka Museum is in second position with 673,436 visitors.
Khamis said some of the museums, especially in Melaka, received visitors from overseas.
He said nine museums and galleries in the state had maintained the projected number of visitors.
In contrast, he said museums in Melaka saw its number of visitors increasing, with foreigners flocking to these places.
“The numbers are more during holiday periods, with tours organised for local schoolchildren and those from Singapore,” he said.
Khamis, who is also the Melaka Museum Authority’s (Perzim) general manager, said the number of children, both Malaysians and foreigners, was also maintained yearly.
He said organising interesting exhibitions were among the measures taken to attract more visitors.
“We need to constantly improve visitors’ experience.
“Museums must make changes according to their resources and look into improving their exhibits,” he said.
Khamis said museums and galleries should be a “beehive of activities” by organising numerous events for history buffs and schoolchildren.
“There is need for us to look into augmented reality and 3D animations to guide visitors through the museum.
“Museums need to be attractive from the aspect of its display as well as be promoted as venues for events,” he said.
Khamis said Perzim also engaged Chetties and Portuguese community leaders to be part of the living museum programme.
“These living museums have been a successful endeavour and we link it to our exhibit sites to continue getting the desired number of visitors,” he added.