Welcome to Demang Abdul Ghani Gallery.
This lovely traditional house is believed to have been built around 1894 by Demang Abdul Ghani bin Penghulu Abdul Majid, a businessman whose ancestors came from Palembang, Sumatra. The title 'Demang' can be translated as district headman.
According to the information board outside, the house was built without nails. It comprises a porch, a verandah, main living area, two bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen and an attic. The house blends a variety of architectural influences. What sets it apart from the typical Malay traditional house of the period is the use of carved and painted decorative panels whereas most Malaya houses were unpainted natural wood colour. The tiled staircase at the entrance is typical of traditional Melaka homes. The elaborately carved golden door screen is found in some of the grander Chinese and Peranakan shophouses and homes around Malaysia. Some say there are influences from Palembang too but on my visit to that city I did not see anything quite like this. It is a pity the roof is zinc rather than tiles but looking at some old photos prior to its restoration perhaps it always had a tin roof.
The information board says that the house was used as administrative centre of the village and a place for holding meetings. There was ample space on its open verandah to hold meetings. It claims that three generations of village headmen had inhabited the house: Penghulu Abdul Majid (1831-1834), Demang Abdul Ghani (1834-1934) and Penghulu Mat Natar bin Abdul Ghani (1934-1978). Not sure how reliable these dates are. It seems unlikely that Abdul Ghani could have been headman for 100 years!
Recognising the architectural value of this beautiful house, the Melaka Museums Corporation (Perzim) took control of the property and converted it to a gallery in 2011.
Don't go on a Monday like I did. It's closed.
Open Tuesday - Sunday from 9 am to 5.30 pm.
The exact location is marked on this map:
Galeri Demang Abdul Ghani
Jalan Masjid Jamek Merlimau
Taman Merlimau Jaya, 77300 Melaka, Malaysia