Iconic Yangon Building to Be Turned into a Museum?

The Secretariat in Rangoon around 1900

The Secretariat is a massive neo-classical structure in the heart of Yangon built to host the British administration during colonial times. The 120-year old structure has been sitted idle for over a decade now wiating for a future use.

The buidling has been sold in 2014 to a private company  which expressed the idea to put inside the huge structure a hotel, offices, some restaurants and also a museum. Resilience has been big from locals to preserve entirely the structure. The Secretarait saw tragic events such as the  1947 assassination of Gen Aung San, the father of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

For the last three years, discussions between experts look at ways to preserve the impressive culture with the new owner, Anawmar Art group to create a museum and cultural centre with the support of the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT). Any construction at the Secretarait will request the authorisation of a committee which looks after the Secretariat management.

“The company must get approval from the committee before Anawmar does any construction for major repairs. The YHT will guide the company when they are repairing the building and avoid destroying its heritage artworks,” Daw Moe Moe Lwin, director of the YHT told to the newspaper the Myanmar Times in an interview. Shops, restaurants, offices but also a library are consequently planned to help bringing some commercial viability to the structure.

Anawmar started already the renovation of the Secretariat putting already some US$50 million. The company confirmed to open its museum and cultural centre from the middle of the year. An exhibition of a German artist was recently organised in cooperation with Yangon Goethe Institute. The space for the exhibition was opened to any visitors for two months.

Anawmar  now plans to house a historical museum in the room where Gen Aung San was assassinated and in the chambre of the first parliament, to be opened to the public. the official launching would come on Myanmar Martyrs’ Day and then, the museum would be opened three to four days a week.

To the Myanmar Times, Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein indicated that the regional government has a plan to reuse heritage colonial buildings in the city downtown for the public.