THE ongoing Sarawak Museum Campus Project, targeted to be completed by end of 2019, will contribute greatly to the state’s tourism development.
The project, said Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, has made significant progress and is 35 per cent complete.
“It will become the pride of the people of Sarawak and reposition Sarawak Museum Department as the manifestation of Sarawak’s culture, heritage and tourism,” he said.
He further said researchers from within and outside the state were engaged to provide internationally recognised exhibition content.
Presently, he added, the story line and layout of the exhibition is being researched and developed simultaneously to showcase the rich heritage of Sarawak.
The second stage of the project, he elaborated, is the conservation of the old Sarawak Museum.
“The 126-year-old building, built in 1891, was officially closed to the public on Oct 23 for a period of two years until early 2020. This historic and iconic building is in urgent need of conservation and upgrading,” he added.
He also said the cultural and zoological specimens together with the authentic showcases would be moved temporarily to the Butterfly Building for safekeeping, conservation and exhibition.
However, the public can still visit other galleries like the Urang Sarawak exhibition at the Arts Museum, Chinese History Museum, Islamic Heritage Museum, Sarawak Textile Museum and Brooke Exhibition at Fort Margherita.
On another note, he said under the 11th Malaysia Plan, five forts, namely Fort Lili, Betong; Fort Emma, Kanowit; Fort Hose, Marudi; Fort Brooke, Julau and Fort Sylvia, Kapit would be conserved and upgraded and given a new role as historic and visitor attractions, giving them a sustainable future.
The development of the Sarawak Museum Campus, he added, will be based on international museum standards to put Sarawak Museum on par with other renowned museums in the world.
Collaborations with museums such as the British Museum, London and the Natural History Museum, London and academic institutions such as the Reinwardt Academy, the Netherlands has strengthened the position of Sarawak Museum as a centre of museum excellence in this region, he pointed out.
“Such collaborations have resulted in the donation of 412 units of Borneon cultural artefacts together with 14 shelving units, nine thermo hydrographs and 44 chests by Museum Prinsenhof Delft, Leiden, the Netherlands. A transfer agreement was signed between the Sarawak Museum Department and Museum Prinsenhof Delft on June 19 and July 4. These artefacts are expected to arrive by end of this year,” he added.
Touching on the Sarawak Craft Council (SCC) which was established by the state government to develop the handicraft industry in tandem with tourism, Abdul Karim said the council had so far organised and participated in 20 promotional and sales events, involving 147 participants.
He told the House that the market size for handicraft in 2016 in Sarawak was RM26 million, involving 854 producers while in 2017 as of Oct 31 the total sales of 957 producers was RM22 million.
“The most popular products are beads work, textile (pua kumbu) and forest-based products,” he added. -TheBorneoPost