SIBU, Sept 25: Sibu Cultural Heritage Museum, the place to go for an insight of the town’s history, has recorded a sharp drop in visitors during this Covid-19 pandemic.
The museum located on the upper level of the heritage centre, used to receive a monthly average of 1,000 visitors pre-Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18.
The number has nosedived to about 200 monthly now.
Museum assistant Joathim Tajul said today that in January this year, there were 847 visitors. Of the number, 30 were tourists and the rest were locals including 305 children.
As for February, 871 visitors were recorded, 42 tourists, 523 local adults and 306 local children.
“In March, there were nine tourists, 217 local adults and 106 local children as the museum was opened until MCO on the 18th,” he said, adding that the museum was closed from March 18 to July 13.
When it re-opened on July 14, there were zero tourist but 114 local visitors of 78 adults and 36 children. In August, the number of visitors was still low with only 160 locals.
“The big drop in visitors is very obvious due to the Covid-1 pandemic where we closed for four months. And when we resumed operation, the number of visitors was not encouraging as people were busy with their daily chores under the new normal. We don’t have foreign visitors as our shores are still closed to outsiders,” he said.
In order to ensure social distancing, the museum, he said has to cancel the yearly September visiting by primary and secondary school students.
“Normally in September, students from about two to three schools will come here at one time. If the situation is back to normal next year, we will consider allowing visitation activity by students,” he reckoned.
Joathim said before the museum re-opened, it was sanitised in compliance with the standard operating procedure.
“Now visitors have to wear face mask. Before they are allowed to enter, they will have to submit their particulars using the contact tracing app and also to manually note down their particulars in our log book,” he said.
The Sibu Heritage Centre, housed in the former Sibu Municipal Council building, displays the rich cultural heritage of the various ethnic groups of the Central Region. Housing its own museum, exhibits centre around Chinese migrants from the various dialect groups and those of the earliest ethnic tribes are also on display.
There are also a fine collection of antiques, artifacts and photos, cultural exhibits on the various ethnic groups of the Rajang.
An exhibit at the museum includes the early beginnings of Sibu, the coming of early Chinese migrants from the various dialect groups and also those of the earliest ethnic tribes.
Also from Iban longhouses displaying genuine skulls which were hung, reflecting the tribes’ warrior past to the seafaring Melanau’s tools and early signs of the Malay culture, this is a must see for visitors.
Another very impressive feature in the museum is its eye catching collection of Chinese porcelain and clay vases while visitors can also view taxidermied animals from around the world and those found in the heart of Borneo, such as the moon rat, the rhinoceros hornbill or even the gigantic Orang Utan.
The museum open from 9am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday.-DayakDaily