Visitors to Sarawak, in the Malaysian part of Borneo, will be able to enjoy by the end of the year a brand new attraction with the opening of the expanded Sarawak State Museum.
The new Sarawak Museum Campus is set to become a must-visit attraction once it opens its doors to the public in 2020. The project which required an investment of US$75 million was divided in two stages comprising the construction of a brand new facility -due to open this coming December- and the renovation of the historical buildings of the current museum complex. The renovation will be finished by February 2021.
The external structure of the new museum was finished in early 2019 but it takes another year to re-install the historical collections in their new setting. The new structure will have an exhibition of 6,500 sqm. and will provide the possibility to show 80% of the artefacts owned by the museum.The five-storey building will consist of exhibition gallery spaces on Levels 2 to 5 around a central atrium. Galleries will showcase how Sarawak was formed, apart from reflecting the state’s identity and heritage. Level 1 will house commercial lots, a café, function rooms and auditorium spaces, which support and complement the temporary exhibition gallery and will be also used for MICE events.
According to Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, thirty per cent of the new Sarawak Museum would feature interactive contents while the rest would be the ‘more traditional’ exhibition.
The museum will be connected at the first and basement levels to a three-storey annexe building, which houses the museum’s conservation and research spaces, library and archives, as well as offices. The entire basement level is a dedicated storage area.
The future complex is deemed to become the second largest museum in Southeast Asia after Singapore National Museum. Meanwhile, the old Sarawak Museum is being restored as originally opened. It will be a testimony over the way to present art collections in the late 19th to early 20th century museology.
All the various buildings in Sarawak Museums Campus will be connected through a newly “green connector” to create a safe and convenient link between the museums, as well as to reconnect them to the existing urban fabric. The new Sarawak Museum will have a pedestrian link bridge for a seamless transition to the grounds of the old Sarawak Museum, complete with disabled-friendly ramps and shaded walkways.