It’s really no surprise that Malaysia’s first camera museum opens in Penang, right in the heart of its heritage area in a refurbished 2-storey shop house on Lebuh Muntri. It seems to be the appropriate location and a well-chosen one by its group of young, entrepreneurial Penangites from varied creative backgrounds.
Let us take you on a virtual (and verbal) tour of the place to satiate your curiosity. As you enter, you’ll step into their reception hall that leads into an exhibition space. To exhibit here will cost you nothing but your photographs will have to pass the panel of judges’ stringent specification and please their critical eye.
As you move on, leaving the exhibition space behind, you’ll notice a spiral staircase on your right to nowhere with a mural of photographers on the wall beside it that was done by Ernest Zacharevic’s team. On the left, at the bottom of another flight of stairs, is a ticket booth for the museum upstairs.
Mural done by Ernest's team
Here’s where you’ll experience the world of cameras. For those born after 1985, it will be a wondrous one – yes, we once used film cameras and the now defunct Kodak (a producer of rolls and cans of films) was a multinational giant that dominated the film industry. Imagine that!
For RM20 entrance fee, RM10 for students and senior citizens, you’ll be able to see around 200 cameras on display. The timeline will be cameras created in the past millennium. Not only that, there’s dark room that will give you an inkling of now almost forgotten film processing procedure, an interactive camera obscura and pin-hole camera rooms and a large format camera room.
Finally, there’s a space where the history of camera is told. After that, go down the stairs and you’ll be transported back to today with the welcoming smell of homemade food from their in-house café, Double Exposure.
You’ll get to refresh with snacks such as curry puff to comforting favourites in the form of chicken pie, lasagne, nasi lemak and drinks from RM2.50. From their drinks choices of juices and freshly brewed coffee, we recommend their silky smooth soya bean milk.
To take home a piece of this place, unique camera-inspired merchandise and souvenirs can be bought from Snap Shop. And yes, rolls of films too! With all that in mind, is it any wonder that this museum has been recorded in Malaysia’s Book of Records as the first of its kind in the country? We’re certainly not surprised. Su Aziz