It is hard not to picture our rich and diverse culture when you think of Sarawak. With more than 40 sub-ethnic groups in the state, our unique culture and heritage is something you have to experience.
Perhaps the best way to learn about Sarawak’s culture and its rich history is by paying a visit to the Borneo Cultures Museum which opened on 9 March 2022.
At 30,000 square meters, the building is – at time of writing – the second largest museum in Southeast Asia, behind Bangkok National Museum.
The design of the museum
Development of the museum was led by Dato’ Seri John Lau Kan Sieng, who hails from Sarawak and has taken on many major projects worldwide.
The Borneo Cultures Museum is an ambitious project that was four years in the making and cost RM308 million in total.
Taking inspiration from Borneo’s diverse culture, the golden arched roof matches the architecture of the Sarawak’s State Legislative Assembly across the waterfront.
Meanwhile, the silhouetted panels are inspired by the state’s traditional motif of woven rattan mats and songket.
What’s interesting is that the building’s interior panels and flooring uses wood products that are PEFC certified (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) to cut down on their carbon footprint.
The museum’s offerings
If you’re wondering how much time to allocate for a visit to the Borneo Cultures Museum, you can easily spend at least 2 hours to an entire day here, depending how slow or fast you take it.
The museum offers five floors all displaying the rich history and culture of Borneo:
- Level 1 (Lobby, Auditorium, Restaurant, & Gift Shop)
- Level 2 (Children’s Gallery & the Arts and Crafts Gallery)
- Level 3 (In Harmony with Nature)
- Level 4 (Time Changes)
- Level 5 (Objects of Desire)
Without spoiling too much of what is being displayed at the Borneo Cultures Museum, you can expect to see everything such as the early life in Borneo, the White Rajahs, and how our culture is closely tied to nature.
There are many interactive learning and digital exhibitions here, which really bring to mind state of the art facilities that are found in museums around the world.
Everything is clearly labelled in English, so don’t be worried about not understanding anything.
Admission to the museum was free for the first few months of operation with 1,000 visitors arriving on the first day alone.
Beginning 1st August 2022, the museum published its official admission fees, with Sarawakians and non-Sarawakians enjoying special discounted rates.
Do note that you can only purchase tickets at the counter at the moment and that you need to show proof of identification upon making a payment.
Are you going to plan a trip to the Borneo Cultures Museum soon? We’re planning our second visit right now!
Opening hours: 9AM-4:45PM (Mon-Fri), 9:30AM-4:30PM (Sat-Sun)
Address: Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak (Google Maps)
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