The Terengganu State Museum (Muzium Negeri Terengganu) at Kampung Losong, Kuala Terengganu is the largest museum in Malaysia with a massive floor area of over 75,000 square meters spread over 4 interconnected buildings.
I had seen photos of these magnificent buildings before, with their architecture based on ancient Terengganu palace designs, but I had not appreciated how huge they were until I saw them up close.
The buildings are not old - the museum was only opened in 1996 - and the walls are made from concrete but their delicate craftsmanship and sweeping pitched roofs give the museum a very imposing look.
The whole museum is raised on concrete stilts above landscaped gardens and ponds.
Inside the museum the displays are arranged in nine galleries. The contents do not quite live up to the promise of the exterior in my view and there is quite a lot of empty space to be filled but there is still plenty worth seeing.
The 9 galleries are;
- Natural History Gallery. Exhibits include rocks and minerals such as gold, iron ore and coal, specimens of flora and fauna found in the state (stuffed tigers, monkeys, bears and more) and displays of local insects, fish, skeletons and so on.
- Textile Gallery. This gallery explains the production process of locally made textiles and displays examples of traditional garments worn at weddings and other ceremonial occasions and the everyday clothing of yesteryear.
- Royal Gallery. This gallery provides a historical family tree of the Terengganu royal family and showcases royal paraphernalia, royal krises, palace household items like crockery sets, medals and gifts received from abroad and locally.
- Craft Gallery.You can see local traditional handicrafts here such as brass making, weaving, gold and silver ornaments and weapons, especially krises.
- Petroleum Gallery.This is a mini version of the Petronas Museum in KLCC and it is appropriate to have this exhibition in Terengganu since much of Malaysia's oil is found here.
- Islamic Gallery. This gallery relates the arrival of Islam in the Malay Peninsula and specifically the state of Terengganu. Manuscripts and ceramics are on display as well as pictures of the architectural styles of various mosques in the state.
- Historical Gallery. Here you can trace human development in the region from pre-historic times up to the present time. Pottery and coins are among the exhibits.
The remaining two galleries are in the grounds of the museum away from the main buildings:
- Seafaring & Trade Gallery. Located alongside the Terengganu River, this wooden construction has been handcrafted in traditional style and features two life-sized sailing boats among the many maritime displays.
- Fisheries & Marine Gallery. This is an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of a fishing village and exhibits include traditional fishing equipment and boats.
Elsewhere in the sprawling grounds of the museum you can find some typical wooden Terengganu houses of olden times including the Istana Tengku Long.
Driving. The location is marked on the interactive map on the Kuala Terengganu page.
Free parking is available.
Taxi from town should cost around RM 20 or RM 30 from the airport.
Bus from Shahbandar Park (city centre) available for RM 1.
Boat from Shahbandar Jetty will cost RM 40.
River Cruises are available from the museum's jetty to the Islamic Civilization Park and back for RM 10 each way.
Open Saturday - Thursday from 9am to 5pm.
Open Friday from 9am to 12noon and from 3pm to 5pm.
Closed on First & Second Day of Hari Raya.
Malaysians Adult RM 5, Children RM 2, Students in Uniform RM 1
Non-Citizens Adult RM 15, Children RM 10
For further information please contact:
TERENGGANU STATE MUSEUM
20566 KUALA TERENGGANU,
TERENGGANU DARUL IMAN.
FAX: 09-6231209 / 09-6266164