The Taiping Museum built in 1883 and widely regarded as the grand dame of Malaysia’s historical repository will be given a fresh lease of life in a RM3.5 million refurbishment plan (The Star/Metro/Central, Tues., Dec 2, 08).
High on the list of this ambitious project is the conservation of the century old façade.
However, the icing to the cake is the long overdue effort to bring change to the dusty and ill-kept galleries. Many of the galleries are reminiscent of Victorian era and often the bane of the visitors.
According to curator Norhanisah Ahmad, the main work involved the natural history, culture, Orang Asli and ceramics galleries. When completed in June 2009, the galleries are poised to position Taiping Museum amongst the country’s top with interactive features and captivating exhibits.
The rejuvenated museum will then be in a stronger position to welcome a new generation of historical buffs. Nevertheless, important question remains unanswered about the fate of the impressive ethnography and Malay-Paleo collections.
My fear is that the museum will discard the existing arrays of collection and take on a completely different theme in line with nationwide trend to alter historical development in this country according to whims and fancies of the powerful.
Other element of what is essentially a structural uplift by the museum department involves instilling the original wooden floorboards. Future museum visitors may be required to wear woolen sandals to protect the floors.
However the curator notes that fee will be imposed for the usage of the sandals and it doesn’t that a rocket scientist to fathom long how it will enrich the museum coffers.