‘Educate public on importance of museum artifacts’

KUCHING: There should be efforts to educate the public on the importance of artifacts preserved and displayed in the local museum.

Permanent secretary to the Ministry of Social Development Datuk Affandi Keli who pointed this out said the theft of the teeth of a 100-year-old killer whale displayed at Sarawak Museum was a sign that some members of the public were not acknowledging the museum’s effort.

A National English daily reported yesterday that several teeth attached to a killer whale skeleton, found washed ashore in Miri in 1912, had been stolen by museum visitors over the years.

Another exhibit, a whale found at Pusa in 1902, also faced the same fate as parts of its skeleton, especially its ribs, were stolen.

“The museum’s mission is to preserve and show our future generation and visitors the uniqueness of our state, the people and its heritage.”

“Inventories at the museum are of high value and for everyone to appreciate and see. Therefore the public need to realise how important it is for everyone to acknowledge and appreciate what the museum has,” he said.

It was also reported that the museum management had proposed to the state government to install closed circuit television camera and deploy more security personnel.

“We also call those in the possession of items valuable to the museum to approach us,” he said.

Affandi was speaking to members of the press during the presentation of flags to the delegates of Sarawak Museum, who will participate in the International Museum Day celebration in Pahang from Oct 17 to 21.

The event will coincide with the launching of the newly rebranded Sultan Abu Bakar museum.

On another matter, Affandi said the state government was also studying the proposal to impose entrance fees for visits to the state museum.

He said it was among the measures being considered to ensure the public value the artifacts displayed in the museum.

“We are considering the option and still studying the proposal. However, if the intention is just to recover operational costs, then it is not good enough,” he said.

He said what was important now was to educate the public on how valuable the artifacts and displays at the museum were and by imposing fees, the public would become more concerned and aware of what the museum had to offer.

On the museum inventory, Affandi said what was displayed at the moment was still below 30 per cent and urged the public or private firms with inventories under the category of archeology, zoological, ethnography and archives to step forward and approach them.

A total of 30 delegates from the state museum headed by its director Ipoi Datan will participate in the celebration which will include friendly games among delegates of museums from all over Malaysia.

The highlight of the event will be the handing over of duty for the Museum Day celebration from Pahang to Sarawak who will host the celebration next year.

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