KUALA LUMPUR: Visiting museums in the cool comfort of the night will become a reality in the capital city towards the end of next year under a programme to be implemented by the Department of Museums Malaysia (JMM).
Carried out in collaboration with the National Department for Culture and Arts and Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, the night visits will add a new dimension to Kuala Lumpur’s night tourism scene and will also be a novel experience for visitors, as well as history and culture buffs.
Dubbed Museum Night Trail-Amazing Museums By Night, the programme will become an annual fixture in the city’s diary of events for the months of November and December, with the first outing slated for November next year.
Recently, JMM held a pre-launch event for about 25 members of the Malaysian media to give them a sneak preview of the three-hour-long night museum trail covering three museums – the National Textile Museum, Royal Museum and National Museum.
Also present were Tourism and Culture Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Yean Yoke Heng and JMM director-general Datuk Kamarul Bahrin Kasim.
Yean said the night museum trail, a common feature in major cities worldwide, has the potential to boost museum visitor numbers.
“It is a unique initiative as more people can visit when museums operate after hours.
“Not only does it add more variety to KL’s night tourism products, it will also enable locals who are busy during the day to take their families on museum visits,” he said, adding that it would also be a fun-filled and educational experience as they would get to watch cultural performances and traditional cooking demonstrations that they rarely get to witness in the city.
Stressing that his ministry was always striving to boost the tourism sector and turn Malaysia into a world-class travel destination, Yean said the local museums were among the assets that held immense tourism value.
Get more museums to join programme
The idea for the night museum trail was mooted following the success of the Night at the Museum programme introduced by the National Museum in 2005.
(This programme is open to school and college students aged 13 to 18 and gives them an opportunity to spend a night at any of the participating museums to enable them to get to know more about the museum’s collections.)
Kamarul Bahrin, a strong proponent of the museum sleepovers, said the positive public response to the Night at the Museum initiative spurred them to come up with the museum night trail programme.
He said it will kick off next year and will be held on the first and third Saturday of November and December.
The night visits will begin at 8pm and end at the National Museum at Jalan Damansara, here at 11pm where the visitors will be treated to cultural performances.
“We are confident this programme will have a good impact on museum-going activities,” he said, adding that they were targeting 60 to 70 tourists or two busloads for each of the night museum trails.
Kamarul Bahrin also said that other local museums like the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia and Royal Malaysian Police Museum were also encouraged to participate in the programme.
The recent sneak preview of the night museum trail for the media involved the National Textile Museum, Royal Museum and National Museum.
Their first stop was the Textile Museum at Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, here where they visited selected galleries that covered the textile development history of the Malays, Chinese, Indians and the various ethnic groups in Sabah and Sarawak.
After spending 45 minutes there, the group departed for the Royal Museum at Jalan Istana, here which had served as the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong from 1957 to 2011.
The stately museum allows visitors to get a taste of palace life and visit the Balairong Seri or throne room where the customary and official ceremonies used to be held, as well as acquire some information on the history of the nation’s Malay rulers.
The media was also treated to a scrumptious dinner served in typical Malay tradition, where the food is laid out on the floor and diners have to eat while sitting cross-legged on the floor.
The menu that night comprised traditional fare such as ikan bakar (grilled fish) and ulam (salad). For dessert, they were served the mouthwatering Royal Pudding, a speciality of Pekan, Pahang.
The final stop for the media’s night museum trail was the National Museum where they got to view the historical relics of the Malay archipelago administrations.
They were also treated to cultural dances and a Joget Lambak performance, the latter being a popular traditional Malay dance, before winding up the night visit.