Penang State Museum in George Town (also written as Georgetown), is perhaps one of the most popular places to visit in Penang. This museum actually includes both a museum and an art gallery as well as permanent and temporary exhibits. Within the museum, you will find an incredible range of artifacts and artwork, including furniture, jewelry, paintings, Baba Nyonya porcelain, and a range of other state and national treasures. The Penang Museum and Art Gallery was not officially opened until April 14, 1965, by SMN Governor of Penang, Raja Tun Uda Al-Haj Bin Raja Muhammad.
Out of the major tourist attractions in Malaysia, Penang State Museum is one of the most informational and interesting due to its division into a permanent and temporary exhibit. The permanent exhibit lets you walk through the area and view the state’s history, festivals, and culture. It is an excellent way to gain understanding the of the state within just a few hours via historical paintings, artifacts, and more. There is even a bust of Kaiser Wilhelm II from Germany dating back to the 19th century, although locals are not sure when or how it arrived at the museum.
One of the most popular aspects within this particular one of the places to visit in Malaysia is the History Room, where you will find a detailed display describing the Penang Riots, which occurred in 1867. Other notable features in the permanent exhibit include the full replica of a Chinese trader’s main hall and the Straits Chinese Exhibition, which shows a replica of a marriage chamber with every detail.
Within the temporary exhibits of the Penang State Museum, you will mostly find artwork, such as the works of local artists or historical paintings and colonial prints. The changing exhibits allow you to get a sense of Penang’s history as well as how its culture has changed throughout time without having to visit dozens of interesting places in Malaysia.
The Penang State Museum is close to many other interesting things to do in Penang and when you exit the museum, you will see a statue of Captain Francis Light in cast-iron. Although the statue is directly outside the museum, it is also fairly close to the Cathedral of Assumption. This statue commemorates Penang’s 150th anniversary since its founding. Interestingly enough, the statue was modeled on Sir Francis Light’s son’s portrait as opposed to one of Sir Francis himself.
Another exterior display by the museum is an original funicular railway car from Penang Hill. In addition to being an interesting historical artifact, the railway car is now a kiosk where you can buy souvenirs, with the proceeds helping the Penang Heritage Trust.
Penang State Museum is located along the corner of Lebuh Farquhar and Lebuh Light in George Town, Penang. Memberships are available to locals and to people who visit the area regularly so if you are interested you can ask about memberships. The museum is closed on Fridays, but open every other day from 9 am to 5 pm and charges RM1.00 for admission.
During your visit, be respectful of the artifacts and paintings you see. This will help to preserve them for future generations, allowing them to enjoy the history and culture of Penang as you are able to.