KUCHING, Sept 21 — The Sarawak Museum, the oldest in the Borneo, will close for about 30 months for restoration works to its building and century-old artefacts, Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg announced today.
“It will be closed from October this year and will be open to public in early 2020,” he told reporters at a press conference.
He said the historic and gazetted museum building, built in 1891, urgently needed restoration, rewiring, and upgrades.
Its regularly-faulty air conditioning units were also beyond repair while its roof was leaking in several areas, he added.
The Sarawak Museum was founded during the reign of Sarawak’s second White Rajah, Sir Charles Brooke, on the encouragement of a prominent British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, who had then been collecting specimens in the state.
The museum was run by military officers during the two world wars.
In World War I, British officers had been assigned to it. During the Japanese Occupation, the museum was protected by the Japanese military officers.
The state’s Museum Department has made plans to shift all moveable artefacts, specimens and authentic showcases from the old museum building to the temporary location for safekeeping and conservation during the closure.
Abang Johari added that the department has also set up alternative exhibitions at the Arts Museum, Chinese History Museum, Islamic Heritage Museum and Textile Museum for the local and international visitors.