KUCHING: One hundred years of Sarawak's history during the Brooke era can now be seen at Fort Margherita here.
The Brooke Gallery is a permanent exhibition telling the story of Sarawak under the rule of the White Rajahs from 1841 to 1941.
It is a collaboration between the Brooke Trust, Sarawak Museum Department and the state Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the gallery was part of efforts to develop tourist attractions in relation to Sarawak's history.
He said the state planned to preserve and upgrade the historical buildings built by the Brookes, including the general post office and old court house in Kuching and various forts throughout Sarawak.
“We want these buildings to be preserved as tourist attractions. At the same time, we want to preserve our history for future generations,” Abang Johari told reporters after opening the gallery yesterday.
He said history was very subjective and open to different interpretations.
“Some people become emotional about it, saying that it is not right to glorify Brooke rule.
“But to me, this gallery is to record history and we want to share it with the public because we cannot erase the past,” he said.
Shortly before the ceremony, a protest by a group calling themselves Anak Warisan Sarawak objected to the opening of the gallery as they felt it glorified the Brookes and their colonisation of Sarawak.
Brooke Trust director Jason Brooke, the great-great-grandson of the second White Rajah Charles Brooke, said the idea for the gallery came about during his visit to Sarawak some years ago when he received a warm welcome.
“The Tourism Ministry was very keen on harnessing the tourism potential of this history.
“So, we suggested to loan artefacts from our family’s collection where they can be displayed and appreciated as part of the history here,” he said.
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