Best museums in KL

Take a walk through history at these institutions
National Museum
Photo: Celestine Foo
By Celestine Foo |
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The saying goes, “You can't really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” So here’s a list of museums where you can discover, explore and learn about our country’s rich and storied history. Good for spending a couple of hours in an afternoon.

Islamic Arts Museum
Photo: Celestine Foo
Art, Galleries

Islamic Arts Museum

icon-location-pin KL City Centre

The building that houses the Islamic Arts Museum is a sight to behold in its own right, with clean white walls accented by intricate blue green motifs. Inside, the abundance of resources and artefacts within exhibits and galleries will make for a very educational visit.

The first floor of the museum is where seasonal exhibitions are displayed in a pavilion, and the second floor is where the China Gallery is located. Here, you’ll learn about the arrival of Islam in China and get the chance to explore the displays of fine china and accessories from ancient times. The textile gallery on the third floor showcases an array of fabrics and garments while a beautifully crafted dome on the outer terrace stands out against the sky and serves as a huge point of interest.

Also worthy of a mention is the gift shop, which you should definitely explore on your way out.

Adults, RM14; students, RM7; children below 6 years old, free.

Royal Malaysian Police Museum
Photo: Celestine Foo
Things to do

Royal Malaysian Police Museum

icon-location-pin KL City Centre

With armoured vehicles and cannons in its courtyard, it’s pretty hard to miss the Royal Malaysian Police Museum. After exploring outside, head inside where there’s a carefully curated collection of artefacts and exhibits showcasing the history and roles played by our royal police force.

In the first hall, you’ll find the uniforms and weapons used by the police throughout history, recording their evolution from the days of the Melakan Sultanate into what they are today. The second hall brings you through the various eras our country went through, and includes a weaponry exhibiting items confiscated from communists and Secret Societies during the emergency. The final hall focuses on the Malayan Emergency period, with displays and information about this time alongside communications equipment used by the communists and the development of the police force in combating organised crime over the years.

Free admission.

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National Museum
Photo: Celestine Foo
Things to do

National Museum (Muzium Negara)

icon-location-pin KL City Centre

No museums list is complete without the addition of our National Museum. There are four halls in the museum – the Prehistoric gallery, the Malay Kingdoms, the Colonial era and Malaysia Today – each focusing on a different era of our country with informational exhibits.

Start at the beginning in the Prehistoric Gallery, where there are artefacts from the Paleolithic and Neolithic era on display, along with a replica of the Perak Man skeleton. Continue to the Malay Kingdoms gallery, which explores the development of early settlements and the importance of Melaka as a trading centre accompanied by items used by the Malay royalty of the time. The Colonial room goes through what happened in our country under colonial rule, and you’ll end up at Malaysia Today, which concludes your journey through our colourful history.

Adults, RM2; Senior citizens and OKU, RM1; children below 12 years old and Malaysian students in uniform, free. Non-MyKad holders, Adults, RM5; children 6-12 years old, RM2; children below 6 years old, free. 

Orang Asli Craft Museum
Photo: Celestine Foo

Orang Asli Craft Museum

With plenty of information on the history of the aboriginal people of Malaysia, this museum is a good one to drop by with children. It’s located in the same compound as the National Museum and Ethnology of the Malay World Museum, so you don’t need to pay any additional entrance fees.

Despite having only one floor and being relatively small (compared to the other museums on this list), the Orang Asli Craft Museum maximises the space they are in with various displays with explanations on the Orang Asli tribes of Malaysia. There are also interesting exhibits like traditional musical instruments and hunting tools alongside intricately produced carvings and handcrafts with fine details any art lover will appreciate.

Jabatan Muzium Malaysia, Jalan Damansara, KL (03 2282 6255). Adults, RM2; Senior citizens and OKU, RM1; children below 12 years old and Malaysian students in uniform, free. Non-MyKad holders, Adults, RM5; children 6-12 years old, RM2; children below 6 years old, free. 

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Telekom Museum
Photo: Celestine Foo
Things to do

Telekom Museum (Muzium Telekom)

icon-location-pin KL City Centre

In this digital age, the idea of a phone with actual wires (aside from the ones on your office desk or in the board room) might sound a little absurd. How many of us remembers what it was like to pick up a phone and physically dial a phone number, or to use a rotary dial?

Telekom Museum brings you down memory lane to revisit that era, with two levels of exhibits and displays that record the history and development of telecommunication. The lower floor contains information and exhibits about early communication in KL and how it transformed our city. You’ll be able to peruse old telephones and learn about the evolution of communication, while interactive (ironically digital) display boards make for an engaging and educational learning experience. Head up the spiral staircase to view an assortment of digital communication devices.

Adults, RM6; students, RM4; children, RM3. Non-MyKad holders, Adults, RM11; children, RM5.

National Textile Museum
Photo: Celestine Foo
Museums

National Textile Museum

icon-location-pin Bandaraya

The history of textiles in our country is a rich and proud cultural heritage, and is fittingly displayed in one of the most impressive buildings in our city, with imposing architecture, red bricks and white walls.

The National Textile Museum comprises two floors with an extensive range of unique and fascinating textiles on display. On the first floor you’ll learn about the evolution of textiles, demonstrated through the exhibits of batik and embroidery alongside the tools used to create them. Handy explanations reveal the elaborate processes of embroidery, stitching, batik painting, calendering and gilding. On the second floor you’ll find traditional clothes and accessories alongside the types of Malay textiles and patters.

Free admission.

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