Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fun Museums for August School Holidays

Aug18-22, 08 marks the beginning of the 2nd. Malaysian School Break.

Most parents with kids would crank their heads over their holiday plans. I think holidaying in Malaysia is a rewarding break for the kids if parents make a point to include visits to museums.

I believe that there is at least one museum worth visiting in each of the Malaysian states. Some states boost more but the important thing is to identify one which the kids can enjoy and for an hour or two, let their inquisitive minds probe for answers, and a warning for the parents - be prepared.

Many of the exhibits housed air-conditioned museums are a perfect substitute for the regular outings to shopping malls. It is the prefect opportunity to share with the kids a wider perspective of the people and places we all live in and for a brief moment train them discard the buy and buy mentality which they are learning when we visit shopping centers.

Malaysian museums are also affordable compared to our nearest neighbor – Singapore. Most museums except Muzium Negara operated by Jabatan Muzium have no admission charges whereas Singapore’s MICA run public museums do with charges varies from RM3.00-RM15.00 pax.

For a starter, go to a favorite outing spot for many in Kuala Lumpur particularly in areas like Lake Garden (3 museums, 1 memorial and 1 planetarium)

To help parents plan their museums outings I have listed the list below for reference according to the location, admission charges and exhibits.

1. The Royal Malaysian Police Museum

Why Kids Like It?

Daddy can be Boys again and together they could check out armored vehicles, aeroplane and a patrol boat.

The Gun Gallery has a fascinating array of sub-guns used terrorists, home made guns used by hunters and killing weapons by feuding gangsters.

The Darurat Gallery is a jungle setting with a Ferret scout car and tools of trade used by terrorists in the jungle warfare. Be Warned – some very graphic photos of defeated terrorists.

The Gallery showcasing the Malacca Sultanate days will open up the kids’imagination to the days where spices were bartered on the seafaring port.

Just compare the low tech weapons used by the Melaka defenders against the muskets and cannons used by the Portuguese invaders and it is easy to understand why 500 plus Portuguese and their sepoy can triumphed easily over.

2. Tun Abdul Razak Memorial - aka “Malaysia Former White House”

Why Kids Like It?

Step into the former residence of Malaysian 2nd. Prime Minister. Step inside on the 1st floor and you and the kids would be zapped back in time. Catch a glimpse of the Malaysian first family and what it is like in the 70s. Look out for the enormous sized black colored Jabatan Telekom telephones.

3. Muzium Negara - The National Museum
Renovation which began in 2006 is still on going (May 2008). Gallery A and B (on ground floor) are closed. Visitors now have access only to Gallery C and D (on the first floor) and make you wonder why they still charged you for full RM2 admission.

Kids will love the new Gallery C. It now has delightful exhibitions and children can ‘board’ a Portuguese galleon attacking Melaka, pretends to be a British soldierer guarding Fort Cornwallis.
There are also excellent exhibits on how rubber trees were tapped. Look out for the tapper mannequin and the container for mosquito coils at her sides.

The tin dredge model the size of Volvo is also a fun place for the kids to discover how the floating factory works.

4. Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

World class collections with fascinating exhibits but it can be daunting for kids whose grasp for details last no longer than 5 seconds.

Kids however would love IAMM for its many interactive kiosks and try-on gadgetry which are important part of the learning process.

Parents may opt for the library next to Mediterranean restaurant housed in the museum after the hefty tour. On weekends, children activities are organized to spur their curiosity for knowledge.

5. Planetarium

Take your kids to space and beyond! Despite its relatively small size (about the size of one and half basketball court) and a pricier ticket, the planetarium offer enough rocket and planetary exhibits. Just don’t expect Houston Control Central and you won’t be disappointed.

There are few interactive kiosks where children will have fun time experimenting. The ‘Space Walk’ is a must.

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