National Museums

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The Sabah Museum is the most prestigious museum in Sabah and is the State’s showcase of its rich cultural heritage and exhibits Sabah’s history, culture, social and natural history in one place.

Sabah Museum

The flagship of the Sabah Museum is the Sabah Museum Complex which is sited on 43.3 acres of lush green natural and planted jungle and is located at Old Palace Hill ( Bukit Istana Lama ) in Kota Kinabalu. This complex is unique in Malaysia as it houses in one place the museum proper, an ethnobotanic garden, a zoological garden and a heritage village.

The main building itself, the architecture of which is inspired by traditional buildings and costumes, comprises of the central exhibition hall and six galleries. In these are located the Islamic Civilization Gallery, the Archaeology and History Gallery, Natural History Gallery, Art Gallery, Ceramic and Brassware Gallery, Traditional Costumes and much more

The Sarawak Museum was built in 1891 and was extended to its present form in 1911. The building was especially built to permanently house and display local native arts and crafts and collections of local animals as mainly encouraged by the famous naturalist, Alfred Wallace, who was then collecting specimens in the country. Since its inception, the building has undergone several renovations and alterations.

It is rectangular, 44’ x 160’ with walls and pillars of bricks and roof of belian and concrete. It has European architecture of imposing edifice in Queen Anne style (Victorian period). The galleries are lighted by dormer windows on the roof which thus allow a great area of wall space.

The ground floor of the museum holds the natural history collection and specimens of Sarawak fauna – reptiles, mammals, birds, etc, all expertly prepared and mounted for display. The west wing of the museum houses Shell exhibition – petroleum industries of Sarawak.

The first floor displays exhibits of ethnographic artifacts such as models of longhouses of the various ethnic groups in Sarawak, musical instruments, various kinds of fish and animal traps, handicrafts, models of boats and others.

The Brunei Museum, said to be one of the most handsome and original public buildings in Brunei, houses priceless items of Islamic Art and natural history, It is located on top of a hill on Kota Batu, overlooking the Brunei River, just 4km from the centre of town. Apart from its rich and prized exhibits, its exterior reflects traditional Malay designs which were developed from tombstones found in the vicinity.

The free-entry Brunei Museum exhibits artefacts that archive the history of Brunei Darussalam both ancient and the relatively recent.

Well made cannons and kettles with their dragon motifs and elaborate patterns recall the glory days of the country when Brunei was an important political and mercantile power in the region, with territories that stretched all the way from Luzon island in the Philippines to the whole of western Borneo Island.

The Royal Regalia Building is a new addition to the attractions found in the capital. Within easy walking distance of all hotels in the capital centre, the Royal Regalia Museum was built to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei’s accession to the throne in 1992.

This museum is home to a collection of royal regalia, including the royal chariot, gold and silver ceremonial armoury, the jewel-encrusted crowns used during the coronation and a replica of the throne which His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei uses on state occasions.

There is also an exhibition which fully documents the history of the constitution of Brunei Darussalam.

Entrance is free and visitors are expected to take off their shoes before entering

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