The National Museum or Muzium Negara is located in Kuala Lumpur and is one of the most popular places to visit in Malaysia no matter where within the country a person’s final destination is. This particular museum focuses on history as well as culture and as such, it has become a part of the national identity over the years.
The National Museum was opened in August in 1963 and was inspired by the national identity. It is located on the site of a previous museum, the Selangor Museum which existed from 1889 to 1945.
Every aspect of the museum is eye-catching from its contents to the building itself. The building has a Minangkabau-style roof as well as two large front murals that were created using Italian mosaic glass. When you visit this item on your list of things to do in Kuala Lumpur, you will instantly notice these large mosaics that give you a glimpse into life in Malaysia. The building itself is designed to include 26 concrete columns in the design of a traditional Malay palace. The columns include 13 in the eastern wing and 13 in the western with each of these reflecting the fact that Malaysia is made up of 13 states. Each of these states offers places to visit in Kuala Lumpur and beyond.
There are four major galleries within the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur and they are Early History, Malay Kingdoms, Colonial Area, and Malaysia Today. Together these exhibits work to cover the entire history of the area with a great deal of emphasis on the culture as well.
The museum is also divided by topic including the Cultures Exhibitions, Faces of Malaysia, Natural History, and a grouping of weapons, music, and ceramics. The excellent organization of the museum allows you to easily decide whether you want to see the whole thing or focus on a particular topic. If you are simply overwhelmed, you can even take a free tour led by a volunteer guide who is knowledgeable about all of the exhibits and artifacts. Despite being a volunteer, the tour guide will make sure that you understand why this museum is one of the most interesting places in Malaysia.
Immediately outside of the Muzium Negara you will find the Malay World Ethnology Museum and the Orang Asli Craft Museum which are smaller, but free to visit. The National Museum itself also hosts an additional outdoor exhibit that rotates. Outside you can find exhibits that include traditional as well as modern transportation as the items displayed are too large to fit inside.
If you simply look at a map, you may be tempted to go to KL Sentral Station in order to get to the National Museum but doing this will leave you to cross many highways. Instead, you should either take a taxi or take advantage of the hop-on-hop-off bus. Another option is to use the walkway that crosses the highway to the south of Lake Gardens.
During your visit to the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur, keep in mind that this museum shows the culture as well as the history of Malaysia. The objects and information displayed has shaped the culture of the country and as such it is important to be respectful of them, even items that seem unusual to you. By entering with an open mind, you can learn a great deal about the county which is why the National Museum is perhaps one of the most important tourist attractions in Malaysia.