Malay museum’s visitors declining

National 2 minutes, 53 seconds


THE number of visitors to the Malay Technology Museum (MTM) has been declining since it opened in 1988 until 2012.

In its opening year, visitors to the museum reached 44,685 but over the years have declined steadily to an average of 15,000 annually, according to museum workers.

One of the MTM attendants, Ak Yusdi Pg Hj Yakup told The Brunei Times that more people are usually coming during the school holidays.

For the last three months, he said that there were a total of 8,288 visitors to the MTM.

“Most of the time, people visited the museum during school break, or if we have additional exhibition at the ground floor,” Ak Yusdi said.

The MTM displays exhibitions that exemplified the daily lifestyles of Bruneian ancestors in Kg Ayer as well as other traditions of the past.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, the Ethnography Officer of MTM, Pg Norazah Pg Hj Muhammad, said the decline in visitors may have been caused by several factors.

“Overtime, people may have felt bored with the same exhibition that the museum offers,” she said, noting that they tried to attract more local and foreign visitors by putting something new different at the ground floor.

“The location of the museum [from the centre of the city] may be another reason,” she added.

The museum is located where many artifacts were found.

There are at least four museums in the sultanate- the Royal Regalia, Maritime Museum, Brunei Museum and the MTM.

According to her, people usually preferred to go to the main museums located in the centre, such as the Royal Regalia and the Brunei Museum.

She noted that their locations are more accessible to the public than the MTM.

The MTM is about one kilometre away from the Brunei Museum.

In a bid to attract more visitors, Pg Norazah said they are continuously conducting road shows in the past several years either in the country or abroad.

“As of now, the MTM has conducted several travel exhibitions to different countries such as the Philippines, Japan and Malaysia,” she said.

Pg Norazah said that they also used to hold temporary exhibitions at the ground floor of the museum to attract more visitors.

She disclosed that they are planning to put in interactive devices and to modernise the building to get more visitors.

She lamented that people confused the “technology” in the museum’s name to modern technologies now available to the public.

The “technology” the museum wants to impart includes those used in the olden times, such as the lights they used, their house structures and the materials used to build houses and boats, as well as the gold, brass, silver smiting and so on, she said.

“The main aim of the museum is to educate people by exhibiting the old artifacts or arts. For the MTM, our role is to exhibit the lifestyle of our ancestors, especially the ones in Kampong Ayer,” Pg Norazah said.

In an interview with one of the visitors who wanted to be known only as Md Zulfadli, he suggested the need to improve the building and also the quality of exhibits to attract more visitors.

“The museum management should conduct more activities as well to attract more people to come, or simply make something different,” Md Zulfadli added.

This year marks the 50th year of the establishment of the Museums Department in the sultanate.

The Department is under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

The Brunei Times