22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery in Ipoh Old Town has a bit of everything if you want to know more about Ipoh during its tin mining period.
The self-guided tours are in English, and the script is a good accompaniment to what the gallery holds.
Want to know what you can see here? Read more in this post.
For adults, it costs RM10 for Malaysians, and RM20 for foreigners.
You can get the tickets shortly after walking into the building. There are QR codes to scan at the counter – one for WiFi (which you need for the audio guide), and another for the audio guide.
Audio Guide (Self-Guided Tours)
Self-guided tours are the only option at this gallery. The staff won’t follow you during the tour.
Their audio guide has numbers that correlate to different exhibits. You must match them up if you want to follow the sequence of the audio guide.
The voice is of a mature male, the pace is slow to moderate (there’s no speed up button) but he speaks clearly. And sometimes with humor.
Inside The Gallery
1. History of 22 Hale Street
As the audio guide will tell you, the building that houses 22 Hale Street Gallery used to have several purposes.
Restoration works took place between 2014 and 2017. During which, both conservative and salvaged materials along with traditional methods were used to keep the building’s construction as true to the original as possible.
The process of the restoration is shown in a series of framed photographs. There is also a black and white photograph at the top of the building from long ago.
Note: The exhibit for this portion of the audio guide is downstairs at the very front of the gallery.
What the audio guide does not tell you is that when it first opened after restoration was finished, 22 Hale Street also housed Dong Café. The café has since closed but the gallery and its gift shop remain.
There is an event space that shares the upstairs with the gallery too.
2. Tin Mining Tycoons
Enter the stairs behind the counter and follow the signs. The first exhibit (if you’re following the audio guide) to enter is behind the stairs.
This exhibit room showcases the origin and lives of two different tin mining tycoons. And how their families eventually joined to do something different after tin mining.
This section of the gallery also explains what life was like for tin mining coolies and dulang ladies during the tin mining age in Perak.
3. Peranakan Culture
This room is much brighter than the other exhibit rooms. The red walls compete with the intricate Peranakan antiques in the room.
The highlight of this room is an ornate bridal bed, plus bridal accessories.
Some of the items look random (e.g., chicken basket under the bridal bed), but the audio guide explains them well.
4. Ipoh In The 50s
The final exhibit in 22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery is marked by a huge timeline of Ipoh on the wall. But after this, there are more antiques arranged to portray a sundry shop and the traditional accessories of a hawker stall.
There is a setup of Modern photo studio (which was a popular photo studio in its heyday) merged with a hair salon.
And beside this exhibit, are two rooms that showcase what it was like to be a guest at Kam Kong Hotel. The hotel was originally beside 22 Hale Street before it closed in 2008.
If not for the audio guide, you might miss the old radios outside of the rooms – one is on the wall. The audio guide will tell you about the popularity of radio before TVs came to Malaysia.
It also tells you of how many used to come to Ipoh just for entertainment.
5. Gift Shop
Going through the previous exhibits will take you back to the stairs that you came up on. Go back down and proceed to the gift shop.
PS: The audio book has a fun fact about the gift shop too.
There may not be staff attending the shop, but visitors are free to browse through the gift shop shelves. There are handicrafts and postcards by local businesses and artists.
A door at the end of the gift shop leads to a surprisingly stunning bathroom. We recommend a look even if you don’t need to use the bathroom.
If you have time or don’t have a booking at the other museums in Ipoh, you can try 22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery.
A self-guided tour will probably take you less than an hour. This depends on your level of interest too and the pace that you explore the small gallery.
Other museums we recommend you visit while in Ipoh are Han Chin Pet Soo Museum and Ho Yan Hor Museum.