Spirit appeasement ritual to mark start of museum renovation works

The Sarawak State Museum

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KUCHING, Oct 23: A spirit appeasement ceremony will be held on Oct 30 at the 126-year-old Sarawak Museum to kick off the RM38 million renovation project

Director of Sarawak Museum Department Ipoi Datan told DayakDaily that this is a Dayak tradition and practice which had to be done to appease the spirits.

“There are many old artefacts, and also human skulls in the the Long House Gallery.”

“These are very old artefacts. We need to do it and it will be carried out next Monday (Oct 30). Only then, we will start the renovation,” said Ipoi today.

In a press conference on Sept 21, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg told a media conference that the Sarawak Museum will be closed temporarily.

He said the closure was intended to facilitate the renovation of the building which was established in 1888 and opened in 1891.

The renovation project which costs RM38 million will see the original structure of the building kept due to its historical value.

“We know that the building is a very old building, but it is part of the process to conserve the old building. So we have to close the building to the public, while at the same time, we are building our museum campus.

“And we have to move all our artefacts from the old building for safekeeping, while at the same time, we are renovating that old building,” said Abang Johari.

The historic and gazetted museum building, built by the Second White Rajah Sir Charles Brooke on the recommendation of renown naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, is in urgent need of physical restoration, and rewiring and upgrading.

The old air-conditioning units are subject to constant breakdowns and are beyond repair while the roof has multiple leakages.

The Sarawak Museum Department has made plans for the removal of all movable artefacts, specimens, and authentic showcases from the old museum to a temporary location for safekeeping and conservation to pave way for the renovation of the historical building.

The renovation work is expected to take two-and-a-half years to complete and it is expected the museum will re-open to the public in June 2020. — DayakDaily