Promoting Sarawak for its rich history, heritage and culture, not as shopping paradise

The old Sarawak Museum building with the new Borneo Cultures Museum partly seen far at right. (file photo)

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By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Aug 4: The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports is selling Sarawak to visitors not as a shopping paradise, but as a State with a rich history of heritage and culture, through its museums.

Its minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah in stating this, expressed hope to see Sarawak Museum amongst others in Sarawak as a factor in attracting foreign and domestic tourists.

He said Sarawak has countless ethnic groups with their own food tradition, lifestyle and culture potentially to be featured and showcased in the new Borneo Cultures Museum which is expected to open this year.

Borneo Cultures Museum, located across the street from the old Sarawak Museum building, when completed, will be the second largest museum in Southeast Asia, said Abdul Karim.

“It is hoped that this long-awaited museum will attract the public to visit and make the museum a place for the public to obtain information related to the cultures of Sarawak in particular.

“The (Borneo Cultures) Museum will also become a major attraction in the city of Kuching and a must-visit place in future,” he said.

A mural by Long Nawang Kenyahs at the Sarawak Museum.

Meanwhile, he also revealed that a few museums will be realised soon namely the Maritime Museum previously known as Brooke Dockyard, Heritage Museums at Fort Lily in Betong, Fort Emma in Kanowit, Fort Brooke in Julau, Fort Hose in Marudi and the Santubong Archaelogical Park.

Expressing his excitement over these ongoing projects, Abdul Karim expressed gratitude to the Sarawak government for its full support in the preservation and conservation of Sarawak’s history for tourism values.

“The ministry is also recovering forts across Sarawak and turning them into museums. I’m personally quite excited and of course we’re fortunate that the State government is very supportive in preserving these forts,” he said after officiating at the ceremony celebrating Sarawak Museum’s 130th anniversary at the old museum building here today.

Today also marked the completion of Sarawak Museum’s renovation based on international conservation standards.

Construction on the first Sarawak Museum started during late September or October in 1889 and two years later on Aug 4, 1891, the museum was officially opened to public. At the time, the museum only had three lower and three upper rooms arranged in the form of an ‘H’.

Over the years, several modifications were made and between 1911 to 1912, the Sarawak Museum underwent more construction with the addition of a new wing, expanding the display area by one third of the original design which exists until today.

Among those present at the ceremony were Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting, the ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee and Sarawak Museum Department director Tazudin Mohtar. — DayakDaily