KUCHING, Sept 24: The state-of-the-art Sarawak Museum Campus will be an icon of Sarawak’s rich cultural heritage, said Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
“The Sarawak Museum Campus will showcase our rich cultural heritage that dates back hundreds of years. It will have some of our artefacts dating back thousands of years, such as the Homo Sapiens skeletal remains found in Niah Caves.
“It will be one of the main attractions for visitors to Sarawak. In addition, scientists and researchers, both local and foreign ones, can also use it to carry out their research on our cultures,” Abdul Karim told DayakDaily today.
He commented that the RM308 million spent to build the new museum was justifiable as it would be an important centre of arts, culture and antiquities in the state.
“As it is the biggest in Malaysia, it will definitely serve its purpose to showcase Sarawak’s rich diverse ethnicity and reflects our civilization as a whole,” stressed Abdul Karim.
When contacted, Sarawak Museum Department director Ipoi Datan said the new museum would become one of the finest in the region when completed in June 2020, adding that work on the project was progressing as scheduled.
Ipoi added that the Sarawak Museum Campus project was fully funded by the state government to preserve and showcase the rich historical, traditional and cultural heritage of Sarawak in a thematic manner.
“It will be of world-class standard and have state-of-the-art facilities in terms of preservation and conservation of our artefacts, including the lighting and temperature.
“On top of that, it will become a ‘Borneo Museum’ of sorts as we have over 500,000 artefacts that have origins from all over Borneo Island. It will also include the Homo Sapiens remains estimated to be more than 40,000 years ago. They were found in the Niah Caves,” he said.
Ipoi disclosed that the vision was for the new museum to become a global centre for Bornean heritage by 2030.
On the project cost, he said it included the main complex, storage and restoration facilities, administrative centre and for landscaping works.
“Comparatively, the cost of the whole project is relatively low in comparison to what it will cost in advanced countries. Besides boasting state-of-the-art facilities, it will have 6,000 sq metres of exhibition space over three floors, a research centre, conservation and collection laboratories as well as a children education centre,” he explained.
Ipoi said the whole of the third floor of the five-storey building would be used as an ‘immersion exhibition’ centre to highlight all the tribes found in the state.
“Once completed, visitors will be able to use their smartphones to get information on our artefacts on display. We will use advanced visual aids to allow people to interact with them. At the same time, we will still provide information to our visitors through the conventional method,” he said.
Ipoi said the two-phase project comprised the new Sarawak Museum Campus and conservation of the Sarawak Museum.
Ipoi said the Sarawak Museum was undergoing conservation and restoration work at a cost of RM28 million, and work was scheduled to wrap up in June 2020, too.
“The restoration and conservation process will include the building itself as well as the artefacts in it,” said Ipoi.
Artefacts exhibited in other museums, such as the Chinese Museum, Islamic Museum and the Textile Museum, would remain where they are and would not be transferred to the new Sarawak Museum Campus. — DayakDaily