More than mere buildings containing objects of artistic, scientific, cultural or historical interest, museums and galleries tell fascinating stories. They educate us on the past. They anchor us to the here and now. They transport us into a world of future possibilities. Lose yourself in our Top 7 picks, all strategically located in Malaysia’s capital city, each unforgettable in its own special way.
1. Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery
The museum and art gallery are housed in the imposing Sasana Kijang complex. Even the name encapsulates the identity of the Central Bank. “Sasana” means meeting point for the learned and wise in Sanskrit while “Kijang” is the Malay word for barking deer, an iconic image long associated with the Bank. The moment you step into the lobby, the Nautilus Staircase will transfix you with its magnificent spiral design. Another jaw-dropping attraction is the RM1 Million Tunnel. A perennial favourite, it showcases a glorious display of the country’s banknotes in various series and denominations, a truly magical sight!
Spread over four levels, all six galleries aim to create an immersive and multisensory experience in money matters. From the flow of the River of Coins in the Numismatics Gallery to the sights and sounds of the interactive games in the Children’s Gallery, the exhibitions and activities impress on so many levels. Concepts such as economics, financial planning, commerce and Islamic banking are explored in such an insightful and creative manner that numbers and statistics become not only relevant but also accessible, fresh and fun.
GPS Coordinates: 3.158249, 101.690817
2. Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
Take a walk through time in the heritage hub of the national capital. Chronicles of Kuala Lumpur are lovingly told through sepia-toned photographs, old newspaper articles, vintage advertisements and even maps dating back to the early days of the city’s formation. Not to be missed is the Spectacular City Model Show which brilliantly traces the city’s past, present and future. The ARCH DIY Workshop and Gift Shop, the KL Skyline Wood Mural and the Dataran Merdeka Miniature are also superb. At the gallery’s entrance, the mammoth I LOVE KL structure is hard to miss! It draws people like a magnet and is always Instagram ready.
GPS Coordinates: 3.147248, 101.693235
3. National Museum
Muzium Negara, as it is known among Malaysians, is a national treasure in itself. The custodian of priceless archeological and heritage artefacts, the museum hosts impressive collections and exhibits spanning the prehistoric era, the golden days of the Malay kingdoms of old and more. Officially opened on 31 August 1963, Malaysia’s 6th Independence Day, it’s one of the country’s oldest museums and still remains relevant today as one of its best.
GPS Coordinates: 3.138200, 101.686723
4. Telekom Museum
This is the prime place to trace the evolution and development of telecommunication in Malaysia. The museum features several galleries including the Pre-Historic Gallery, The Beginning of Telecommunications Gallery, Pre- and Post-Independence Telecommunications as well as Air Telecommunications.
GPS Coordinates: 3.149226, 101.699163
5. Music Museum
With its extensive collection of traditional musical instruments like kompang, rebab, gambus, gamelan and gong as well as tabla, pipa, keranting, kulintangan and enkuratong, the heritage building virtually reverberates with the sounds of music from various ethnic groups in Malaysia. What’s more, it’s within easy reach of other cultural gems such as the National Textiles Museum and Kuala Lumpur City Gallery.
GPS Coordinates: 3.147313, 101.693669
6. National Textiles Museum
Situated in an elegant historic building characterized by its spectacular Mughal–Islamic architecture, the appeal of this museum is unparallelled! Specializing in every single aspect of local fabrics conceivable, along with ornate costumes and jewellery, the museum excels at opening up a diverse and wondrous world of colours, textures, tools and techniques. With five galleries — Pohon Budi, Pelangi, Teluk Berantai, Ratna Sari and Saindera — the country’s profusion of textiles are beautifully represented here in their full grandeur.
GPS Coordinates: 3.146800, 101.694041
7. National Visual Arts Gallery
Paintings do speak volumes and tell so many pretty tales at the National Visual Arts Gallery! Prepare to be impressed by contemporary pieces by local artists. Besides exploring the expressions of creative art in the gallery’s permanent collections, you can also view special exhibitions and take part in educational activities conducted for visitors.
GPS Coordinates: 3.177254, 101.681901