KUCHING: The new Sarawak Museum Complex is set to be a top visitor attraction when it opens its doors to the public next year.
The RM308mil building has been completed and handed over from project owner PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd to the state Public Works Department (JKR) and Museum Department.
State Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said work would now start to fill the museum with artefacts and set up its permanent displays.
“We hope to speed up the work to have the museum ready for opening by the middle or the end of next year.
“I believe that for any visitor who comes to Kuching, whether local or foreign, this will be one of the must-visit places once it is ready, ” he said at the handover ceremony yesterday.
Karim said the new museum would be the largest in Malaysia and second largest in South-East Asia after Singapore’s National Gallery.
What was more important was the museum’s potential to be a leading institution of culture, heritage and research in the region.
The museum’s facilities include a repository for its collections and a conservation laboratory.
“It will become an attraction not only for visitors but also for researchers. I hope those entrusted to look after this museum can be innovative in getting people, including school children, to visit.
“I would love to see every Sarawakian visiting because this is the centre of our heritage and culture, ” Karim said, adding that the state government has approved RM15mil to equip the museum with state-of-the-art digital facilities.Acting museum director Suria Bujang said the new museum’s permanent exhibition would be based on celebrating cultural diversity in harmony and unity with nature and history.
He said there would be three galleries themed “In Harmony with Nature”, “Settlements and Urbanisation” and “Objects of Desire”, as well as a children’s gallery and arts and crafts gallery.
“The Sarawak Museum Complex will be a new landmark in Kuching and aims to be a world-class institution.
“The building’s diamond-shaped design is inspired by the motifs of Sarawak’s traditional crafts such as songket and rattan mats, ” he said.
The new museum has 6, 000 sq m of exhibition space with interactive facilities, taking visitors on a journey about Sarawak’s history and life of the local communities.
It is also Green Building Index-certified, with features such as a rainwater harvesting system and electric car charging stations.