The State Museum, Penang

9 Reviews

Lebur Farquahar

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  • The State Museum
    by Carino
  • The State Museum
    by Willettsworld
  • The State Museum
    by Willettsworld
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    Penang Museum

    by Willettsworld Written Aug 17, 2010
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    The Penang Museum is housed in a colonial-era building built in two phases, phase one in 1896, and when funds were adequate, phase two in 1906. The building originally housed the Penang Free School. There was already a museum in Penang in 1940, housed within the original St Xavier's Institution. That museum was destroyed when it was bombed by Allied forces. After the war, the effort to revive a museum in Penang got started. Initially, a museum of sorts was housed in a residence at Northam Road. The Penang State Government proposed setting up a state museum in 1962. The idea was well accepted by the then prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. He mooted the idea of using the Hutching School and eventually, the Penang Museum was opened to the public on 14th April 1965. It's a great escape from the heat and hustle and bustle of Penang and will give you an excellent overview of the sights, culture and rich history of the island.

    Set over two floors are displays of traditional Chinese furniture alongside opium pipes and beds ornately inlaid with mother of pearl. Downstairs, the history of Chinese immigrants is charted, with an explanation of the role of the traditional clan house. Nonya culture is covered, with displays of wedding clothing and an explanation of their wedding tradition. A wedding bedroom has been created too including a traditional red lacquered bed elaborately decorated with gold leaf. A street scene has been recreated too showing life as it would have been, complete with life-size models of hawkers and trishaws.

    Upstairs deals with Penang's historical development, giving a blow by blow account of each milestone. Displays are made up of large photos of how places looked and lots of information about everything from Francis Light to the ferry to the mainland. There's even an interesting section of old postcards and models wearing what the ladies of the day would've worn while promenading.

    Open: 9.00am to 5.00pm - Saturday to Thursday. Closed Fridays. Admission: RM1.

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    Penang State Museum

    by Carino Written Mar 8, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you would like to get some information about the history of Penang, the State Museum is the place to go. It gives you an idea about architecture, culture, customs and much more.

    The museum is not that big and in about 1 to 2 hours you should be through.

    Entrance Fee
    Adult: RM 1.00
    Secondary School Students: RM 0.50

    Opening Hours
    9am to 5pm
    (closed on Fridays)

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    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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    Penang State Museum

    by jo9001 Written Dec 18, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The museum is worth a visit because is better than some other museum in other states of Malaysia, its cheap - only RM$1. When you have been walking around Georgetown under the hot sun the museum is a cool respite from the hot tropical sun!

    The ground floor of the museum is devoted to displays detailing the rich cultural heritage of Penang's many ethnic groups.

    The second floor of the museum is devoted to a historical perspective of the island, from Captain Light's landing to the problems created by secret Chinese societies and on to the present day. There is also a collection of paintings and prints of old Penang.

    Admission to the museum costs RM$1.
    The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily except Friday.

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    understanding Penang

    by ellielou Written Apr 12, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    two-dimensional and three-dimensional
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    Without a doubt, this was the finest museum I saw during my trip to Malaysia. It clearly presents the people who were in the area and who came to settle, and the development of the area. Despite presenting such historical facts, it wasn't too heavily text-based. The layout was really clear, and the galleries small, yet never felt cramped.

    I'd highly recommend this as your first stop in Penang. Also, it is here that you can pick up that difficult to find walking tour map of Georgetown.

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    State Museum

    by Ines28 Written Dec 12, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    State Museum

    Situated near High Court at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah in the city centre of Georgetown.
    It was originally a school in 1821. It is now a State Museum housing many fine collection of historical items such as Chinese bridal chamber, antiques, maps, paintings, photographs, books, and artefacts providing a complete information on Penang's history.

    You will like this museum even if you are not a typical "museum-goer" as it is really interesting (and it has a good air-conditioning) ;-)

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  • kenyneo's Profile Photo

    A place where history is reborn

    by kenyneo Updated Mar 24, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    essence of Romanesque

    There are Penang Museum and ART Gallery, Lebuh Farquhar. Built in 1821, the museum houses a fine collection of old photographs, maps, charts and other historical relics. There are also Malay daggers (kris), Chinese furniture, embroidery and painting of old Penang. The Art gallery on the first floor displays the works of local artists and is the venue for special exhibitions. The statue of Francis Light graces the grounds in front of the buildings. It opens daily from 9.00am-5.00pm while on Friday, it is from 9.00am - 12.15pm & 2.45pm-5.00pm.\

    Well maintained Muzeum a small room dedicated to how Penang was born. How different people from middle east, south east asia, asia and europe set foot in this island ...and becoz of them ...penang is so colourful...

    Entrance fee RM 1.

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  • Imbi's Profile Photo

    Penang Museum

    by Imbi Written Feb 2, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Penang Museum and Art Gallery
    Penang Museum and Art Gallery was established in 1821 and has different rooms for all the different cultural people living in Penang. It also tells you the story of how different people migrated to Penang. Photography is not allowed inside Museum.

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    Statue of Penang founder -- Francis Light

    by JamesWtc Updated Oct 8, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Status of Francis Light

    Penang was established by Francis Light in 1786 as the first British trading post in the Far East. Light had persuaded the Sultan of Kedah to cede Pulau Pinang ("Island of the Betel Nut") to the British in exchange for military assistance; though Light occupied the island, he withheld a commitment to aid Kedah until the Sultan had ceded additional territory on the adjoining mainland coast.
    When Light landed, on the site of the present Esplanade, Pulau Penang was virtually uninhabited and covered in dense vegetation. In order to induce his sepoy forces to undertake the arduous work of clearing the site, Light allegedly loaded a cannon with gold coins and fired it into the surrounding jungle. Before long, sufficient land had been cleared for a settlement, and traders and merchants began to arrive.

    Much of the nearly uninhabited island's appeal for traders was due to the fact that Penang was from the outset an open, duty-free port. Unlike their Dutch competitors in the region, who pressed for trade monopolies and instituted trade duties, the British were more concerned with allying themselves to regional powers than with controlling and profiting from Malaysian trade. Their primary interest in Penang was that it serve as a safe stopover for British ships plying the far more profitable China trade.

    To stimulate Penang's growth, the British founder and superintendent, Francis Light, decided to allow immigrants to claim whatever land they could clear. Within a few decades, the island had attracted more than 10,000 settlers and traders, including Malays, Sumatrans, Indians, and especially Chinese. Light's attempts to stimulate agriculture on the island were largely unsuccessful, but Penang was soon established as a major trading port for tea, spices, china, and cloth. The city of Penang is today a bustling metropolitan city in which Eastern and Western influences blend to form a unique culture.

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  • kenyneo's Profile Photo

    What the british left behind ...

    by kenyneo Updated Jan 27, 2004

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the Grand Old lady

    Th front view of the beautiful collonial building turned State Museum.

    Entry RM 1.00 only ( USD 1.00 = RM3.80 )

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