KUCHING, Feb 23 — The Borneo Cultures Museum, the biggest museum in Malaysia and second largest in South-east Asia, will officially be launched on March 4 and open to the public on March 9.

According to Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will officiate the launching ceremony at 8pm.

“After many years of waiting, finally we can soon witness the launching of this new museum,” said Abdul Karim during a press conference held at the museum yesterday.

He said both him and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg will be presenting speeches during the launching ceremony and a show of projection mapping will be performed on the museum building.

He explained the opening of the new museum building was supposed to be held at a much earlier date, but it was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Abdul Karim said the new museum will incorporate immersive and interactive experiences for visitors by utilising audio-visual technology and augmented reality.

“Families with children will love to bring their children down here and we believe the locals will be eager to visit the museum. Guides will be available for visitors to understand in-depth of Sarawak’s history and the origin of its artifacts.”

He added the new museum will be one of the must-visit attractions in Kuching, and he would discuss the state Cabinet on the museum’s entry fees.

However, he noted entry will be free-of-charge for the first three months after opening.

Three themes have been chosen for different levels of the museum building, with ‘Love Our Rivers’ for Level Two, ‘In Harmony with Nature’ for Level Three, “Times Change’ for Level Four and ‘Objects of Desire’ for Level Five.

He said Level Two was designed to fulfill social responsibility by empowering children’s imagination and environmental stewardship.

“Level Three explores the relationship between humans and nature, Level Four will showcase the history of Sarawak and Borneo from prehistoric times to the 1970s and Level Five is on the most cherished objects by Sarawak’s ethnic groups.”

The museum and its annexed building were built under the 11th Malaysia Plan as part of the Sarawak Museum Campus Project and the project cost of RM323 million was fully funded by the state government.

It is the first museum to be certified under the Green Building index and the five-storey building consists of permanent exhibitions, children’s gallery, function room, VIP room, auditorium, restaurant, canteen, a souvenir shop as well as an arts and crafts gallery.

A total of 6,628 square metres was allocated for exhibition space in the new building and the total floor space for the museum and its annexed building is about 31,000 square metres.

The museum will open daily from 9am to 4.45pm from Monday to Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Last entry is at 4pm.

Members of the public are encouraged to pre-book their visits at museum.sarawak.gov.my as a maximum of 500 persons are allowed to be inside the building at a time.

Bookings can be made from March 1 onwards.

Among those in attendance during the press conference were the ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee and state museum department director Tazudin Mohtar. — Borneo Post