8 Lesser-known Museums to Visit in Malaysia
Just like in most countries, the most common museum to visit in Malaysia is the National Museum. While the galleries in the museum are relatively informative on the country and its history, there are many other museums in the country that offer a unique perspective of Malaysian heritage and culture, unbeknownst to even the locals. Bring the kids along for a fun-filled afternoon and the whole family can learn something new about the country you’re living in. Here are some museums for you to check out, depending on what you’re interested in:
1. Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM), Kuala Lumpur
Situated along Jalan Lembah Perdana, IAMM is located near the National Mosque. The double-storey museum has about 12 art galleries, showcasing Islamic architecture, the Quran and manuscripts, Islam in India, Islam in China, the formation of the Malay World, Islamic textiles and jewellery, the arts of war in the arms and armour, coins, metalworks, wood, and ceramics. There are also two special galleries for temporary exhibitions.
Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 6pm, including Malaysian Public Holidays except for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Address: Jalan Lembah Perdana, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Admission: RM14 for adults, RM 7 for students and senior citizens, Free for children under 6.
Tickets are charged RM12 and RM6 respectively when the special galleries are closed.
2. National Textiles Museum, Kuala Lumpur
There are five galleries in the two and a half-storey Mughal-Islamic inspired building, located along Jalan Sultan Hishammuddin in Kuala Lumpur. On top of showcasing the diversity present in Malaysian culture, the museum also tracks the development of textiles since pre-historic times. Guided tours are available however, the website states that it is only in Bahasa Malaysia. To find out more about the exhibitions on display or to make an enquiry, visit their website for more details.
Opening hours: Daily from 9.00am to 6.00m, except on Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha.
Address: 26, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, 50050 Kuala Lumpur.
3. Royal Malaysian Police Museum, Kuala Lumpur
Showcasing the evolution of the police forces in Malaysia from the British, Dutch, and Sultan eras in the country, there are three galleries in this small museum. According to KL Pass, the first gallery shows the police force from the pre-colonial Malaccan Sultanate era until present. The second shows the force’s evolution since it was established during the British colonisation. The third is said to feature specific criminal incidences as well as notable Malaysian criminals.
Opening hours: 10am to 6pm everyday, except Mondays.
Address: 5, Jalan Perdana, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
4. The Royal Museum (Old Istana Negara), Kuala Lumpur
Formerly the palace for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) and his Queen, the old Istana Negara was converted into a museum after the new palace was built along Jalan Duta. The place was originally built as a bungalow in 1928 for RM150,000 and was the home of a millionaire from China, Mr Encik Chan Wing. It was later used as the Japanese Army Officers’ Mess during the Japanese occupation and after they surrendered, it was renovated and turned into a palace.
The Royal Museum opened its doors to the public on 1 February 2013, showcasing 22 interior palace spaces including the Balairung Seri, the room where the King meets the people, sleeping chamber, royal office, dining hall, and the King’s resting lounge. For more information on the palace and for any enquiries, VisitKL has the relevant information.
Opening hours: Daily, from 9am to 5pm
Address: Jalan Istana, Istana Negara, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Admission: RM5 for local adults, RM2 for children 6 to 12 years and students with uniform, RM3 for students without uniform, senior citizens and disabled persons.
RM 10 for an adult foreigner and RM5 for a child foreigner.
5. Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum, Malacca
The museum is made up of three terrace lots that belonged to the Chan family in 1861, and the museum itself is managed by the family until today. The houses were opened as a museum in March 1985, after four Chan generations lived in the house before that. The museum showcases Malaya in the late 19th century and early 20th century, when it belonged to Baba Chan Cheng Siew (1865-1919), with the house’s decor in line with many pre-World War II Peranakan homes. The term “Baba” is an honorific term used to address a Straits-born man and “Nyonya” used to address a Straits-born woman. To make a tour booking for more than 10 people, visit their website.
Opening hours: Daily hourly tours: 10am – 1:00pm (last morning tour 12noon), 2pm – 5:00pm (last evening tour 4pm). Extended hours on Fri, Sat, Sun (last evening tour 5:00pm).
Address: No. 48 & 50 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Admission: RM16 for adults, RM11 for children from 5 to 12 years
6. Batik Painting Museum, Penang
Showcasing the history of batik painting in Malaysia from the 1950s, this museum is an old shop house within George Town’s heritage area. An artist living in Penang, Chuah Thean Teng combined his art skills with traditional batik techniques to make fine artworks, which took several years to develop. This was then followed by the first historical Batik Painting Exhibition in Penang in 1955. Singapore then held an exhibition in 1956, and subsequently in Kuala Lumpur in 1957. From then on, a new form of art known as “Batik Painting” was born. The museum also has a small section featuring the works of artists in China, Indonesia, and Thailand. Visit their website for more information.
Opening hours: Daily, 10am-6pm
Address: 19, Lebuh Armenian, George Town, Penang.
Admission: RM10 for adults, RM5 for students
7. Bank Negara Museum and Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Learn about economics, financial planning, Islamic banking, and the functions of the country’s central bank in 8 galleries in the museum. Programmes and talks are also carried out for both children and adults, from teaching children how to save money with the Si Kijang Money Box programme to a 45-minute lecture on how old the ringgit is as well as its evolution throughout history. Visit their website here.
Opening hours: Open daily from 10am to 6pm. Closed on first 3 days of Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Address: Sasana Kijang, 2 Jalan Dato’ Onn, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
8. Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum, Malacca
The museum recreates a typical Baba Nyonya home, offering a glimpse into their lifestyle, customs, and traditions along with antiques and collectibles from a century ago. Different kinds of jewellery and vintage furniture are on display, showing the everyday lives of the Straits Chinese. The Straits refer to Penang, Malacca, and Singapore. Jewellery-making equipment are also on display. Most of the artifacts do not have labels and tags, however there are guided tours that can help shed some light on the stories behind the items on display. Visit their website for more information.
Opening hours: Daily, 9.30am to 5.30pm
Address: 108, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Malacca
Admission: RM15 for adults, RM10 for children aged 6 to 12 years
Be sure to get acquainted with some of the other museums in the country to learn more about our history and heritage!