Asia

National Museum


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On April 24, 1778, a group of Dutch intellectuals established a scientific institution under the name Bataviaasch Genotschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen, (Batavia Society for Arts and Science). This private body had the aim of promoting research in the field of arts and sciences, especially in history, archaeology, ethnography and physics, and publish the various findings. One of the founders – JCM Radermacher – donated a building and a collection of cultural objects and books, which were of great value to start off a museum and library for the society. Due to the growing collections, General Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles built a new premises on Jalan Majapahit No. 3 at the beginning of the 19th century and named it the Literary Society. In the 1862 the Dutch East Indian government decided to build a new museum that would not only serve as an office but also could be used to house, preserve and display the collections. The Museum was officially opened in 1868 and became known as Gedung Gajah (Elephant House) or Gedung Arca (House of Statues). It was called Gedung Gajah on account of the bronze elephant statue in the front yard donated by King Chulalongkorn from Thailand in 1871. It was also called Gedung Arca because a great variety of statues from different periods are on display in the house. On February 29, 1950 the Institution became the Lembaga Kebudayaan Indonesia (Indonesian Culture Council) and on September 17, 1962 it was handed over to the Indonesian government and became the Museum Pusat (Central Museum). By decree of the Minister of Education and Culture No. 092/0/1979 of May 28, 1979 it was renamed the Museum Nasional. The Museum Nasional is not only a centre for research and study into the national and cultural heritage, but also functions as an educative, cultural and recreational information centre. Currently the Musium Nasional houses collections of 109,342 objects under the categories of prehistory, archaeology, ethnography, numismatics-heraldic, geography and historical relics. Visitors are kindly asked to refrain from smoking, eating and drinking in all areas of the Museum, and are prohibited from touching the exhibits.

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