KUCHING: The new Sarawak Museum Complex, the largest in Malaysia and second largest in Southeast Asia, has been completed and handed over to the Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak and Museum Department Sarawak.
Witnessing the handover ceremony held at the complex here today was Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
The new museum was designed and completed with 21st century facilities and amenities.
This world-class museum, with a new 6,000 square metres interactive and engaging exhibition, will open its doors to the public by the end of next year.
A well-curated selection of unique artifacts and specimens will be part of the various exhibits there, ready to take visitors on an interactive journey as they showcase Sarawak’s history and life of the communities in the state.
The cavernous collection and storage space complement the state-of-the-art research facilities that will keep the vast array of state-owned priceless museum collections safely preserved for future generations to enjoy.
Its dedicated spaces support the museum’s ambition towards becoming the leading research institute on the material culture of Borneo.
Sarawak has a rich heritage that can trace its earliest roots back 40,000 years.
There are over 40 ethnic groups in Sarawak, which as a major strategic and trade port, has adopted cultures from visitors from around the world.
Given the green light in 2014, the new museum project was undertaken by PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd.
The unique 30,000 square metre building is also Green Building Index (GBI) certified, and is set to stand as an eye-catching icon that would excite and set the tone for both locals and international visitors.
It is the first GBI certified museum in Malaysia.
The project also includes the conservation of the historic Old Sarawak Museum building built in 1891, which is a landmark in its own right.
More importantly, the new museum will serve as a centre of learning to welcome international scholars to collaborate with local curators on documenting the material knowledge of the rich past of Borneo, its cultures, people and nature.
This is in line with establishing Sarawak as a new global focal point for work in the exciting field of anthropology.
“Today is a historic day for the Sarawak Museum. It is an addition to the numerous iconic buildings that we have in Sarawak.
“Although we have not opened this museum to the public after this handover, we hope to speed up things to fill up this building (with artifacts and collections) to have it officially launched by the middle or end of next year,” said Abdul Karim at the handover ceremony.
According to him, the new museum project was completed in May this year at a total cost of RM308 million.
Abdul Karim said the Sarawak government had approved another RM15 million to equip the museum with digital facilities.
He added that certain sections of the museum will be incorporated with technologies to enhance visitors’ experience.