KUCHING: The role of a museum has shifted from care, conservation and preservation of local treasures to managing an asset and a major tourist attraction.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said cultural heritage was important because the civilisation of a nation could be examined through its arts and culture.
“The uniqueness of our culture and the beauty of our nature is what make Sarawak attractive as a tourist destination,” he said during the official launch of the Sarawak Museum Department’s ‘Urang Sarawak: An exhibition about US’ yesterday.
His text-of-speech was read by Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Lee Kim Shin, and the event was officiated at by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem.
The Sarawak Museum has a lot to offer as a tourism asset, namely the varied collections from all ethnic groups, a large number of collections to design various exhibition concepts, and a good relationship with museums in the country and internationally.
“For now, the construction of the new museum campus is
underway with the help of consultants from within and outside the country.”
There are three main phases: construction of an archive to conserve collections, the construction of an exhibition building, and improvement works to the old museum.
“Upon completion, this will be another icon of Sarawak and will allow the Museum Department to make more collections available to the public. Now only 25 per cent of the collection is on display because of the lack of space.”
The new museum complex is expected to be completed by 2020, he said.
In efforts to further develop the tourism industry in Sarawak, the federal government had given an allocation to hasten things.
According to Abang Johari, they would focus on three main aspects of development, including improving connectivity and upgrading and improving the surroundings to protect the environment.