Not only is the Perak Museum in an attractive building, but it costs little to enter it. The museum is bigger than it looks, and there are many different sections inside.
Want to know what are the key highlights of a visit here? How long should you spend at the Perak Museum and how well is it maintained?
Find out in this post!
Table Of Contents:
About The Perak Museum
Perak Museum is approximately 140 years (it was built in 1883). It has the honor of being Malaysia’s first museum.
The building itself is a heritage treasure since it showcases a blend of neo classical, Moorish, and Victorian architecture. The architect behind the design of this building was English.
But it was the Third British Resident of Perak, Sir Hugh Low who came up with the notion that a museum was necessary to document and preserve Malaysia’s culture, history, and nature.
Construction materials for this building consisted of bricks from Perak and India. While local hardwoods like cengal, meranti, and merbau wood were used for the floors, doors, and windows.
The Perak Museum is open every day from 9am to 5pm.
But you may find it closed on the first Monday of every month. And on important public holidays like Hari Raya.
Entrance Fees For The Perak Museum
For Malaysian adults, it’s only RM2 to enter the Perak Museum. Seniors and people with disabilities are charged RM1.
High school students in uniform and little ones below 12 years old can go in for free.
Foreigners will have to pay RM5 and RM2 for adults and kids older than 6 years old respectively. Foreign children under 6 years old can go in for free.
The ticket counter is the first thing on the right of entering the front of the museum.
Facilities At the Perak Museum
The Perak Museum is just across from the old Taiping prison. There is a spacious and free visitor car park within the compound.
There are some larger exhibits (e.g. vehicles) and minimal but nice landscaping on the grounds of the museum too. This includes a fountain that makes use of labu sayong pots.
Inside the museum is a children’s area (just appears to be colorful benches), and a small gift shop. Toilets and a surau are at the back of the museum.
Exhibits Inside The Perak Museum
We will break this up into two main sections. Most of the exhibits are inside the museum. There are basically 2.5 floors to check out when you’re at the Perak Museum.
You don’t get a map of the museum during your visit. But it is easy to explore on your own.
Indoor Exhibitions At The Perak Museum
This is the order that we explored the Perak Museum. And we will list them out as follows:
1. Gallery A
The main gallery (and the first one you will see after entering the Perak Museum) is meant for temporary exhibits.
In 2023, the current exhibition is on World War 2 and the Japanese occupation in Malaya. There are a handful of Japanese weapons, samples of Japanese propaganda, and a virtual reality simulation of key figures. The latter was not available during our visit.
Before this, Gallery A was home to The Exhibition of 135 Years of Silver between 2018 to 2019.
2. Gallery B: Nature Gallery
Local wildlife (like musang, pangolins, and colugo) is featured in this gallery. There are life-sized skeletons of a tapir, tiger, a particularly long reticulated phyton, and elephant to one side.
And most of this gallery contains solid wood cabinets that house different species of local wildlife grouped together. There are plenty of local birds but also, larger animals like deer.
We think that many of the animals in these exhibits are the products of taxidermy. So, be warned if the lifeless eyes creep you out.
At the right side of the gallery (from the entrance), there is a much smaller section on marine life. This section is lower than the rest of the Nature Gallery.
And after the marine section, is Gallery C.
3. Gallery C: Cultural Exhibition
You can see fine samples of local crafts like metalwork, embroidery, and weaving at this section which is connected to Gallery B.
As you continue along this section, you will also see local costumes (including bridal costumes). The last bit of this gallery covers some general wedding customs in Malaysia.
4. Gallery D: Exhibition Gallery of Indigenous Peoples and Various Pottery Collections
Go up the old wooden staircase at the end of Gallery C to move on to Gallery D. This gallery houses significant pottery finds in Perak. Some are replicas but it is still interesting to see.
You can see samples of pottery from different states too. Detailed descriptions accompany the different styles of pots, as well as tools used to make them too.
On the same floor are collections of different handicraft, jewellery, fishing nets, weapons, and hunting paraphernalia used by the indigenous people of Malaysia (i.e. orang asli).
There are models of the houses and boats they build too. As well as carved wooden masks used in healing rituals.
Outdoor Exhibition At The Perak Museum
If it looks like it’s going to rain, it is best that you check out this part of the museum first. As some of the larger exhibits do not have a covered walkway to get to.
If you go straight past the gift shop, there are some stairs that lead down and outside the main building.
Long dug out canoes are the first thing you will see. And a little way off from there is the vintage car display. Which is a must-see even if you’re not a car-fanatic!
There are even more vehicles (including a 14-person bicycle) to see past the vintage car exhibit. You can find these past the little buildings that house the toilets and surau.
And the very last exhibit (or very first exhibit) that you might see at the Perak Museum, is at the side of the main building. It’s hard to miss the plane and old train carriage for their size!
What We Think Of The Perak Museum
What we like:
- Exhibits are well labelled
- Well-maintained building and grounds
- Minimal entrance fees and free car park
- Many different sections to explore
- Close to Taiping Town
- Air-conditioning for inside the museum
- Easy to explore
What we don’t like:
- No guided tours
- No interactive exhibits
- Not wheelchair accessible (e.g., no lifts and there are steps)
How Long Does It Take To See The Perak Museum
If you plan on reading all the exhibits, it might take you more than half the day to do so. But if you just read what interests you or a bit from each exhibit, it can be an hour before you finish.
For those that just look and move on to the next exhibit without reading all the descriptions, you can expect to complete your tour of the museum in less than an hour.
We really do encourage you to read at least some of the descriptions. They are well written (in both English and Malay), and the different artifacts are all neatly labelled.
The Perak Museum is one of the best things to do in Taiping. Our reasons include the low entrance fees, easy parking, plentiful and clearly labeled exhibits, air conditioning, etc.
Taiping rains a lot too and this is one place you can visit that has a roof. This is with the exception of some of the outdoor exhibits.
PS: The Telegraph Museum in Taiping is small but also a worthwhile visit!