Dept to set up Wallace Gallery in Museum


FOR PUBLIC DISPLAY: Jason (third left) presenting Leh (third right) with the Wallace Bust.

KUCHING: The Sarawak Museum Department will be dedicating a gallery in Sarawak Museum to Alfred Russel Wallace as recognition for his contribution to the state’s history.

The department’s deputy director Dr Charles Leh said with the establishment of the gallery by the end of this year, to be named Wallace Gallery, the public will be able to have a close view of Wallace’s legacy and also the Wallace Bust.

“We will be dedicating a Wallace Gallery in State Museum by the end of this year because without Wallace, there is no museum,” he said during the presentation ceremony of the Wallace Bust to the Sarawak Museum Department yesterday.

Jason Brooke, who is the grandson of the last Rajah Muda of Sarawak Anthony Brooke, represented The Natural History Museum of London and A.R Wallace Memorial Fund in presenting the Wallace Bust to the department.

“The British Museum is very active in conserving the legacy of Wallace and also the Brooke family. We are lucky today because a family member of the Brooke family, Jason came from afar to present us with the Wallace Bust,” he said.

Leh said the Wallace Bust will be exhibited to the public in conjunction with the Second International Conference on Alfred Russel Wallace to be held here from Nov 7 to 8 this year.

“The chairman of the A.R. Wallace Memorial Fund Dr George Beccaloni came to Sarawak last year and met with us. During the meeting, he had agreed to contribute the Wallace Bust to be exhibited here.”

Besides establishing Wallace Gallery, Leh said the Sarawak Museum Department will also dedicate a gallery to the Brooke family at Fort Margherita by the end of this year, which will show the special relationship between the Brooke family and Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Jason who is the honorary secretary of Brooke Trust Fund said he is directly involved in helping the Sarawak Museum Department to bring artefacts and documents on the history of the Brooke family and Wallace to the state.

“Wallace’s role and developing of historical theory is important because Wallace was based here. The A.R Wallace Memorial Fund is trying hard to promote Wallace and his relation with the history of Sarawak and the people here.

“The Wallace Conference here in November, Wallace Gallery are great initiatives and I think it will help to encourage people to come over here and to enjoy the outdoors.”

Jason also expressed his appreciation to the government for its commitment in conserving the state’s heritage such as Fort Margherita, Old Court House, Square Tower and the Astana.

At the function, Jason, on behalf of Brooke Trust Fund, presented a Union Jack flag to Sarawak Tourism Federation Heritage Development Committee chairman Lim Kian Hock to be hung at the Batu Lintang War Memorial.