Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kinta Tin Mining Museum - A Tin Treasure Trove of Kampar

Kampar Tin Museum - A treasure trove.
July 2013. Kampar was once a thriving tin mining town in Perak but the slump in tin price in the world market in the 80s quickly put a dramatic end to its illustrious past. Over two centuries, the town was synonymous with this precious mineral and all walks of life in this quaint Malaysian town revolved around tin and tin mining.

The Kinta Tin Mining (Gravel Pump) Museum is an excellent location to retrace and have a glimpse of the scale of tin mining industry and to know better the people who once worked in the open-cast mines.

It's currently Malaysia's foremost and dedicated museum featuring the rich tin legacy in this country.
The elephant which first discovered the rich tin deposit of Kinta Valley

A Model of Palong - The Heartbeat of Tin Mines

Another attribute of this museum located in Bandar Baru Kampar (next to the Petronas Station and within the vicinity of the Grand Kampar Hotel) is its humble origin.  The museum was a brainchild of a tin tycoon who was keen to showcase the gravel pump mining method which was widely applied in the Kinta Valley during its hey days.

The museum which consists of two main galleries also serves as a tribute to local tin miners who took up the backbreaking work to earn a decent living and I believe also for those who made the ultimate sacrifices when they became victims when the gravel walls collapsed or the water retention pool burst.

Women work in palong to retrieve loose tin particles

Women play vital roles in mine camps.  They cook meals even after a hard day in the mines.
Your journey to this private museum starts when you are greeted by an elephant sculpture to mark the early chapters of this country's love and hate affairs with tin.

Many of the exhibits and information in the two galleries(each the size of a basketball court) are appropriately spaced and provide a conducive environment to know the subjects intimately.

The mannequins both indoor and outdoor are also perfect to illustrate the life of tin miners working in the dangerous mines. However, I find that the miners lookalikes could benefit more from a bit of imagination from the part of the curators.

Bearing in mind that entrance to this private museum is free (donations are welcome), I must add that the quality of the exhibits and information inside stand on par if not better than most other well-funded museums in this country.

Tin Ingots 

A Gravel Pump

Powerful Water Hose to break down the earth wall in tin mines
Young visitors to the tin museum are likely to be fascinated more by the life-size dioramas featuring real heavy mining equipment from now defunct mines.  They are found around the main exhibition halls, unfortunately, some are rusting away under Malaysia's hostile elements.

The captivating dioramas depict well the gruesome tasks both men and women of Kampar must face when they are out clearing new lands to find the precious mineral.   Look further and you could still heard the loud roars from the iron beasts and shouts from the mining crews cutting and digging every inch of the earth to look for tin.

The Tin Mining Museum despite its size and its lack of sophisticated exhibits, is in my opinion, has attained remarkable success in shouldering and safeguarding the tin mining legacy for the generations to come.  

If you're looking a museum to know Malaysia's proud history, this is the place. It  will get your thumbs up too as a place for your family to have both fun and educational outing and to discover the Kampar's rich Tin Legacy.

Entrance to Museum