KUCHING: The Sarawak Museum is set to receive over 400 Bornean artefacts from a Dutch museum this year.
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said Museum Prinsenhof Delft in the Netherlands was donating 412 cultural artefacts as well as 14 shelving units, nine thermo-hygrographs and 44 chests to the Sarawak Museum.
He said a transfer agreement was signed between the Sarawak Museum Department and the Dutch museum on June 19 and July 4 this year and the artefacts were expected to arrive by the end of the year.
“This donation will further enhance recognition of the Sarawak Museum nationally and internationally and will be a good addition to the museum’s existing collection,” he told the state assembly in his winding-up speech yesterday.
Abdul Karim said the Sarawak Museum was also collaborating with other foreign institutions such as the British Museum and Natural History Museum in London and Reinwardt Academy in the Netherlands.
He said this was part of the new Sarawak Museum Campus project, which was being developed according to international museum standards and targeted for completion by the end of 2019.
“The project has made significant progress and at this stage is 35% physically completed. The storyline and layout of the exhibition is being researched and developed simultaneously.
“The exhibition will be presented in thematic subjects showcasing the rich heritage of Sarawak. Researchers from within and outside the state have been engaged to provide internationally-recognised exhibition content,” Abdul Karim said.
He added that stage two of the project was the conservation of the 126-year-old Sarawak Museum building, which was closed to the public on Oct 23 for a period of two years.
“This historic and iconic building is in urgent need of conservation and upgrading works.
The cultural and zoological specimens together with the showcases will be moved temporarily to the Butterfly Building for safekeeping, conservation and exhibition,” he said.
On the state’s tourism performance, Abdul Karim said Sarawak received 3.72 million visitors from January to September this year, an increase of 9.81% compared to 3.3 million visitors in the same period last year.
He said his ministry anticipated five million visitors in total this year, up from 4.66 million last year.
“Sarawak’s tourism sector is expected to generate tourism receipt of RM8.98bil, contributing about 8.2% towards the state gross domestic product in 2017.
“For 2018, my ministry is targeting 5.25 million visitor arrivals and an estimated tourism receipt of RM9.82bil,” he said.