Muzium Negara Pieces Together Origins Of Mankind With Peking Man Exhibit

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via The Star, 08 April 2018:

Muzium Negara hosts China’s The Peking Man Exhibition: Zhoukoudian Heritage Site, a touring exhibit shedding light on a species that provides the biological link between ape and man.

Source: Muzium Negara Pieces Together Origins Of Mankind With Peking Man Exhibit |

Malaysian shipwrecks in focus

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Bernama has a feature on Malaysian shipwrecks, in conjunction with a current exhibition showcasing finds from 13 shipwrecks found in their local waters.

Showcase Of Treasures On Display From 13 Shipwrecks (Part 1)
Tales From Sunken Ships In Malaysian Waters (Part 2)
Bernama, 29 August 2011
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Coffins on show at Malaysian National Museum

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The National Museum of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur has just opened an exhibition on coffins, featuring funerary material from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

3,000-year-old coffin on show
The Star, 30 March 2010

Coffin exhibition opens at National Museum
New Straits Times, 01 April 2010
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Muzium Negara renovation update

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09 August 2007 (New Straits Times) – Earlier this year, the national museum of Malaysia (Muzium Negara) announced that it was going through renovations. The NST posts an update on the renovations, with some completions to be done in time for the Malaysian independence day on August 31.

Muzium Negara aims for ‘class’ upgrade

With Visit Malaysia Year in full swing, one would expect the country’s main attractions to be operating at their best. Muzium Negara, however, is in the midst of renovations. It seems that the renovations are unavoidable as the National Museums Department does not want the museum to be perceived as a “third-class” establishment.

“Muzium Negara is the main museum of the country. This renovation is needed so that it will be on par with other museums in the world as well as be a model museum in Malaysia,” said the department’s deputy director-general Paiman Keromo.

The renovation started in June last year after the department received a RM20 million allocation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

External work to the museum, such as building a walkway around the museum, re-organising the external exhibits and building an outdoor stage, began two months ago.

“So far, the renovation is on schedule and it doesn’t interrupt the current exhibitions,” Paiman said.

Since the renovations started, the first floor containing Galleries C and D had been closed, while Galleries A and B on the ground floor are open to the public.

Galleries C and D used to showcase Malaysian flora and fauna.

These artifacts are in Muzium Negara’s repository and can be visited by the public by obtaining permission.

Sixty per cent of the renovations, including the external works, will be completed by Aug 18.

On the same day, Galleries C and D, which will feature events from the Malacca Sultanate until the country’s independence, will be reopened to the public.

“We will reopen the two galleries on Aug 18 as the 50th Merdeka celebrations will be launched the night before in Malacca,” said Paiman.

Read the full story on the Muzium Negara’s renovations.

Museum guidebooks featuring the Muzium Negara:
Museum Treasures of Southeast Asia by B. Campell
Museums Of Southeast Asia by I. Lenzi
Extraordinary Museums of Southeast Asia by K. Kelly

Malaysian museum pieces long gone with the wind?

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13 July 2007 (The Star) – A parliamentary debate over the deplorable state of Malaysia’s museums collections reveal and underlying problem: the process of colonialism have led to the exodus of many artefacts, which have now remained unrecoverable due to high prices. Is this the full story? I’m inclined to think that it’s more than that… the example cited in this story – about Sir Stamford Raffles’ letters – does not make sense. Just because Raffles wrote about Malay customs, does that automatically Malaysian property?

Museum without originals

he Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry has denied a claim by a senator that Muzium Negara was a third-class museum as it showcases only “photocopied pictures” rather than original documents and artefacts.

Its deputy minister Datuk Wong Kam Hoong said the museum was unable to display original artefacts because many of them had been taken out of the country during the colonial era.

The high price quoted by sellers to acquire the artefacts was another reason, he said.

“After the collapse of the Malacca Sultanate, we were colonised for 500 years. During the period, many artefacts of historical significance were taken out of the country.

“Since the artefacts were not smuggled out or stolen, we tried to buy them from foreign owners but they asked for exorbitant prices,” he said, refuting the claim by Senator Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi in the Dewan Negara yesterday.

Among the items Malaysia tried to buy were letters written by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who was highly knowledgeable on Malayan history and Malay customs.

Read the full story about Malaysian museums.

Books featuring the museums of Malaysia:
Museum Treasures of Southeast Asia by B. Campell
Museums Of Southeast Asia by I. Lenzi
Extraordinary Museums of Southeast Asia by K. Kelly

Perak Man is Back in Town

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Guest blogger LIZ PRICE from cavesofmalaysia kindly gives us her review of the Perak Man exhibition now on at the Muzium Negara in Kuala Lumpur.

Perak Man Exhibition at Muzium Negara. Pix by Liz Price.

Perak Man is Back in Town

Malaysia’s oldest inhabitant, Perak Man is back in KL. There is a special exhibition dedicated to him at Muzium Negara as part of the “Festival Kuala Lumpur 2006″. Perak Man is an 11,000 year old human skeleton which was found in Gua Gunung Runtuh in Lenggong, Perak in May 1990. It is the only complete late Paleolithic skeleton to have been found and is an important piece of Malaysia’s prehistory.

The month long exhibition is designed to be informative in an entertaining way and it certainly works. As you enter the building which is constructed to represent the mouth of the Gua Gunung Runtuh, you are greeted by an animated talking skeleton.

Walking around takes you through a dark passage past a series of exhibits and tableaux depicting scenes from 10,000 years ago. The first one shows Perak Man on his death bed, surrounded by friends or relatives. Research shows he died from a severe tooth infection. At first I was a bit amused to see the skeletons move, and some had flashing red eyes. It’s great for the kids though.

Perak Man Exhibition at Muzium Negara. Pix by Liz Price.

Perak Man suffered from a rare congenital deformity but living amongst a close knit community meant he had people to care for him when he could no longer hunt or look after himself. Although he was only in his 40’s when he died, that was probably a good age for that era.

Perak Man has been dated at 10-11,000 years old. However evidence of human activity in the Lenggong Valley has been revealed dating back more than 100,000 years. This area could well have been the capital of Malaysia in those days.

The next scene shows the burial rites. It is suggested that Perak Man was an important member of his tribe as his burial was performed ceremonially. He was buried in a fetal position, with legs folded up to the chest, the right hand bent up towards the shoulder and the left hand on the abdomen. The body was placed in a 1 metre deep shallow grave running east to west, and perpendicular to the cave entrance.

Perak Man Exhibition at Muzium Negara. Pix by Liz Price.

For the researchers from Universiti Sains Malaysia, led by Prof. Dato Zuraina Majid, it was a dream come true that the Paleolithic burial was done so meticulously and was so well preserved. The skeleton was almost complete, except for some missing bones such as toes, ribs and parts of the face. Offerings of food such as meat and riverine shells were with the body, as well as 10 different types of tools. The tools could have been Perak Man’s own collection. As a final touch, 2878 shells were placed on and around the body.

There is a slide show in Bahasa Malaysia giving a brief outline of the discovery and showing the types of food eaten in those days. Perak Man and his relatives lived by subsistence activities, which means they were hunter gatherers. They hunted wild animals like wild boar, deer, mousedeer, leopard, monkeys, iguanas and tortoise. To supplement the meat diet they gathered plants and riverine shells for food and medicine. They used stone tools for their daily activities. Pebble tools were used for heavy duty work such as chopping trees, splitting bones and snipping the tips off shells. Flake tools were used to cut and scrape meat, and to sharpen wood and bone to make new tools. There is a display of stone tools and models of how they were used.

Further along is a selection of push button displays, but unfortunately the buttons were not working. The next section is devoted to research. There was analysis on the faunal remains, which gives some information on the animals eaten, the hunting skills, as well as the climate and environment. The bones and teeth were also studied. Perak Man went to Japan from 7 September to 24 November 1996. A display case houses a replica of Perak Man’s skeleton, the original is housed at the Lenggong Museum.

As you turn the corner you are invited to insert a card into a slot. Nothing happened then there was a rumbling sound and suddenly a motorbike driven by 2 modern skeletons drives towards you, with a background scene of modern KL. I’ve never seen so many mechanical talking skeletons outside of a fairground!

Perak Man Exhibition at the Muzium Negara. Pix by Liz Price

The last section houses half a dozen computers on which you can answer 20 questions relating to Perak man. The computers, as well all the film clips are only in Bahasa Malaysia, so the exhibition seems to be designed more for locals than for foreigners. Finally there is a feature on a new book “Perak Man and Other Prehistoric Skeletons of Malaysia”, edited by Zuraina Majid. The book is available for sale.

This exhibition is great for anyone interested in Malaysia’s prehistory and is guaranteed to grab the attention of kids with the animated skeletons and detailed tableaux. It is due to finish on 31st July but almost certainly will be extended until at least August 16th.

pictures and text by Liz Price
The exhibition is housed in Muzium Negara annexe.
Opening hours daily 9 am – 6 pm.
Admission is free
Car park is RM2

Related Books:
Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago by P. Bellwood
Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by P. S. Bellwood and I. Glover (Eds)