After a smashing success since its grand unveiling, the Borneo Cultures Museum (BCM) is now charging admission fees beginning today (1 August 2022).
Opened on 9 March 2022, the museum is located in Kuching, Sarawak. Taking up space in an impressive 30,000sq m building, this is the second-largest museum in Southeast Asia and Malaysia’s largest to date.
To commemorate its grand opening, the museum is allowing visitors to enter for free for its first three months of operation. With COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place, the museum can only host about 300 visitors at a time.
Previous online bookings have proven to be successful for the museum, as more than 13,000 slots were snapped up by excited visitors in under 10 days. On its opening day, the museum welcomed 1,000 visitors. Starting 1 July, you can make your way there any day, any time, without prior booking to experience the magic of the historical artefacts housed in the Borneo Cultures Museum.
Here’s the information you need before visiting the Borneo Cultures Museum:
As of 1st July, visitors are not required to book their sessions, as the museum is now fully accepting walk-ins. For anyone who plans to take a quick flight to Kuching for a visit, do take note that there are two sessions per day, and the last entry is at 4:00 p.m.
For its first few months, the museum waived the entrance fee. Now admissions are as below:
For Malaysian children under 12, no admission fee is to be charged. Foreigners under 12 are required to pay RM20 (SGD 6) per entry. Malaysian teens aged 13 to 17, as well as students with student IDs are charged RM5 (SGD 1.5), while foreigners of the same group are charged RM25 (SGD 7.5). Sarawakians aged 18 to 60 are charged RM10 (SGD 3), while other Malaysians are charged RM20 (SGD 6) — foreigners of the same group are charged RM50 (SGD 15). However, an annual pass is available, at RM100 (SGD 30) for all.
BCM is spread out over five floors: the first houses an ephemeral exhibition gallery, while the second has a children’s gallery, a Love our Rivers and Arts & Crafts sections. Levels 3, 4, and 5 cover the permanent thematic galleries “In Harmony with Nature” (which exhibits sights from the coasts, rainforests, and highlands of Borneo), “Time Changes” (which showcases cave discoveries and the making of Sarawak), and “Objects of Desire” (which houses relics on trade and craftsmanship, along with spiritual designs of the cultures).
The state-of-the-art complex is home to over 1,000 artefacts that boast the rich culture and heritage of the indigenous peoples of Borneo and Sarawak, with 30% of the museum feature will be interactive in nature.
Preserving Sarawak’s heritage
The development of this museum was led by Data Sri Ar John Lau Kan Sieng, Sarawak’s very own renowned architect who has undertaken many major projects across the globe. At a cost of RM308 million (SGD 92 million), this was four years in the making. Now, the golden structure aims to welcome a global audience as well as to become a cultural hub.
The building itself takes inspiration from the diverse culture in Borneo. The golden arched roof reflects the architecture of Sarawak’s State Legislative Assembly (or DUN) which sits across the Sarawak River. Silhouetted panels laid atop of one another is a nod to the state’s traditional motif of woven rattan mats and songket.
The state’s pride and joy were built with conscious efforts in order to maintain the surrounding greenery. Only materials such as wood products that are PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified are used for the interior panels and flooring — to cut down on the construction’s carbon footprint produced, especially after the abolishment of the Dewan Tun Abdul Razak building which was once stood in BCM’s place.
For the disabled, the museum has taken your needs into consideration as well! Ramps and tactile maps are there to ease your mobility, making it a practical tour destination for everyone.
So whether you’re an avid historian, cultural professional, creator, or artist, step into the Borneo Cultures Museum to be mesmerised and inspired by the heritage and history of the region.
Featured image credit: Borneo Cultures Museum