Monday, July 21, 2014

An Adventure at the Sabah State Museum


When was the last time you went to a museum?  I can’t remember the last time I went to a museum – probably 5 years ago.  The kids were still small, so they can’t remember it, too.  The only thing that I can vividly remember about the visit was the very cold temperature inside the museum.  I think there was a huge skeleton of something, but I can’t recall what it was – obviously, I need to revisit the place.

Sabah State Museum

So during the recent school holidays, we dragged our kids, ranging from 5-15 years old, to the Sabah State Museum.  We figured that all kids need such visits in their memory – at least one memorable trip to the museum, in addition to the zoo, the park, etc.  Our teens were reluctant (museums really need to update its image), but the younger ones were excited.  I estimated the trip to last about 1 hour or less, but we ended up spending more than 4 hours there, and we could have spent a whole day if not for a previous engagement.

It turned out to be a fun time for us all – lots of walking, a bit of hiking, visiting houses, getting mosquito bites, viewing paddy field, admiring water lilies in a pond, getting on railway trains, sitting on and in classic cars, etc.  And all of those memorable adventures were on the outside of the museum building.

Perched on a hill, the Sabah State Museum’s main building was opened in 1984 and it is architecturally inspired by the longhouse.  Located about 5 minutes’ drive away from Kota Kinabalu City centre, at Jalan Muzium, it can easily be seen from the road.  It we take the bus, it is merely 5 minutes’ walk away from the bus stop.  Notable buildings near to the Museum are Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, MUIS building and the Wisma Kewangan.

We arrived before the Museum opened, so the areas were not crowded.  We noticed peculiar scents coming from some of the plants gracing the area.  We found out later that the plants around the Museum grounds are not mere eye candy, some of them are actually part of the Museum’s ethno-botanical garden.  The plants consist of local medicinal and food plants – mostly herbs, I guess.  I am hopeless at differenting between the grass, weed or the herb.

Trains & Lepa Pasil

After we paid for the entrance fees, we decided to visit the surrounding areas first before entering the main building.  It was early in the morning, so we figured that when the air becomes too hot to endure, then we’ll march into the air-conditioned part of the Museum.

We started our adventure in the outdoors with the old train with wooden compartments.  The kids loved climbing up and down the dear thing and it really looked polished.  Then there’s this beautiful life-sized model of a sailing boat (perahu layar) called Lepa Pasil from the Semporna District from the East Coast of Sabah.  It has nice intricate motives carved onto it.  Would you believe it – these type of boats used to sail around the small islands of Borneo, Philippines and Indonesia.  What a daring feat!

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