Friday, December 31, 2010

STAR : Tracing the textile history

Saturday August 14, 2010
By JADE Photos by P. NATHAN

Located in Jalan Sultan Hishamudin, Kuala Lumpur, near the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is the little known National Textile Museum.

National Textile Museum director Janet Tee said the museum traced the development and trend of textile that had characterised and shaped the lifestyle of the people from prehistoric times till today.

“We hope to also inculcate an interest and inspire enthusiasts of the arts and textile to use the museum as a resource centre and place of inspiration,” she said.

“The exhibits, or even motifs and elements found in the displays, can serve as an inspiration that they can use for all sorts of art and craft work like pottery, woodcarving and painting,” she said.

Beautiful structure: The National Textile Museum is housed in a building of Moorish architecture in Jalan Hishamudin near the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

The museum is housed in a historic building of Moorish architecture that was built alongside the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and completed in 1896.

Designed by architect A.C. Norman to house the headquarters of the Malay States Railways, it was subsequently occupied by various government departments and institutions before it was refurbished as a museum in October 2007.

The building has also been gazetted as a historical building and national heritage.

The National Textile Museum comes under the management of the Department of Museums Malaysia, under the purview of the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry.

Opened to the public on Jan 9 this year, the museum is located in a 2½-storey building with four galleries, and another for changing exhibitions, activities and demonstrations.

The galleries, which Tee said were named after traditional elements inspired by textiles, are:
Origins of textiles: An exhibition on Iban ceremonial cloth at the Pohon Budi Gallery.

·Pohon Budi Gallery — displaying the origins of textiles from prehistoric times and its growth through trade;
·Pelangi Gallery — exhibiting some of the selected heritage collections from the various communities;
·Teluk Berantai Gallery — highlighting the richness and beauty of the Malay heritage collection; and
·Ratna Sari Gallery — showcasing jewellery and personal adornments of various ethnic groups.

“Most of the collection belong to the Department of Museums, which have been collecting them since the ‘70s,” said Tee.

The exhibits were bought from donations and bequeaths from all over Malaysia.

Saindera Gallery has hosted numerous activities like a Baba and Nyonya sarong-wearing demonstration, batik-canting, beading workshop, talks, and theatre of textiles.

On future programmes at the museum, Tee said there were plans to organise regular activities especially during the school holidays and hands-on workshops to enhance knowledge and appreciation of Malaysian textiles.

Exquisite work: An exhibition on beaded collars at the Pohon Budi Gallery.

“We will be getting and training volunteers to conduct guided tours around the museum early next year.

“To create greater awareness of the museum, we are working with our neighbours Restoran Warisan and Central Market and sending postcards and posters to tour agents and travel guides,” she said.

The museum is also open to hosting themed dinners, photo shoots and other events.

Admission is free at the moment, though Tee said there were plans to impose fees similar to the National Museum early next year.

The museum is located at 26 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, KL.

It is within walking distance from the Pasar Seni/Masjid Jamek LRT stations and KL KTM Commuter station.

Parking facilities are available at Menara Dayabumi and Dataran Merdeka.

Visiting hours are from 9am to 6pm daily.

The museum will be closed on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Haji.

Free guided tours by a curator, selected group activities and access to the resource centre are available upon advance request.

For more information, call 03-2694 3457/ 3461 or visit

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