‘Treasures from Nusantara’ opens at Textile Museum

Abd Karim (second left) and Prommersberger (third right) look at a bronze kettle which originated from 18th or 19th century Brunei while a researcher Dr Monica Janowski (front right) points out a feature. Also seen are Ipoi (left) and van de Bunte (third left). — Photo by Tan Song Wei.

KUCHING: ‘Treasures from Nusantara’ is a successful example of museums working together for the benefit of their visitors and a worldwide shared heritage.

The exhibition, which opened yesterday at the Textile Museum, features a selection of 30 artifacts originating from the Nusantara region that were formerly housed in the now-closed Museum Nusantara in Delft, the Netherlands.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said Sarawakians could celebrate the return of 412 artifacts to Borneo.

“This week, we join 36,000 museums from 157 countries around the globe in celebration of International Museum Day. The role of museums going forward is to build these relations across the globe and build mutual understanding between people regardless of age, ethnicity or creed,” he said during the launch of the exhibition yesterday.

International Museum Day is celebrated on May 18 every year.

Abdul Karim added his appreciation to young curators in the Sarawak Museum Campus team for the research they have done on the artifacts as soon as the items arrived in Sarawak a month ago.

“This exhibition is proof of the research role museums worldwide take up through their research staff.

“Thanks to the research team we can now revive and tell stories in exhibitions.”

The Netherlands deputy ambassador to Malaysia Christoph Prommersberger was present at the launch.

Asian Civilisations Museum Singapore director Kennie Ting, who is also vice chair of Asia Europe Museum Network (ASEMUS); Valentina Riccardi from Asia European Foundation (ASEF); Sarawak Museum Department director Ipoi Datan; and Sarawak Museum Campus senior project leader Hans van de Bunte were also present.

In his speech, Prommersberger expressed appreciation to the research team from the Sarawak Museum Campus for connecting the once-orphaned objects back to their land of origin and helping tell their stories for the first time in over a century.

“Another aspect of research is collaboration, which this exhibition signifies.

“Our shared history and the collections involved can only find significant meaning in the present day if all relevant partners have a role to play in the storytelling.

‘Treasures from Nusantara’ is now open at the Textile Museum. It opens from 9am to 4.45pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10am to 4pm on weekends and public holidays.

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