Penang State Museum and Art Gallery

Penang State Museum and Art Gallery, Penang Island: Address, Phone Number, Penang State Museum and Art Gallery Reviews: 4/5

Penang State Museum and Art Gallery

Penang State Museum and Art Gallery
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Art Museums • History Museums
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Penang State Museum and Art Gallery Officially open in 1962, the Museum houses a fine collection of old photographs, maps, charts and other historical relics. There are also Malay daggers (keris), Chinese furniture, embroidery and paintings of old Penang. At the Penang State Museum there are also interesting sections which recounts the bloody nine days of rioting between Chinese secret societies in 1867, attributed by bewildered British authorities to a rambutan-throwing incident. Georgetown suffered a near civil war before the administrators took a firm hand. The societies were heavily fined and the proceeds used to build police stations which subsequently kept the peace. The Penang State Art Gallery on the other hand is situated at a different premise which is at Dewan Sri Pinang, Light Street, a stone thrown away from the Museum premise . There are two Art Galleries which is situated in Dewan Sri Pinang. The Art Gallery on the Ground floor displays the works of local artists and is the venue for special exhibitions meanwhile the exhibition hall at the 3rd Floor housed the Permanent Collection which comprises of paintings donated or bought from the artists.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.0
254 reviews
Excellent
55
Very good
124
Average
54
Poor
11
Terrible
10

saronic
Zurich, Switzerland23,660 contributions
Going west from Fort Cornwallis one will encounter several grand buildings from British Colonial times, often in Palladian style and all of them quite attractive, now included as part of George Town's UNESCO World Heritage. They can be seen at the roads Esplanade, Light and Farquhar, the last two named after the first governors of the Prince of Wales island, as Penang was then called.

One of these town palaces is the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery. It used to house as of 1821 the famous Free School, open to all ethnicities, which had been founded 5 years earlier, as the oldest English medium-school in Southeast Asia. Having become overcrowded a new wing was constructed in 1896, another in 1906. In the 1920's already the school building was too small again, so the Free School was moved to the suburbs, at Green Lane, where it still stands today.

The building on Farquhar Street became a primary school for over 30 years, but in the 1960's it was turned into the town's main museum. Never having been restored since its beginnings, it was time for a renovation and in 2017 it closed temporarily, as it says on a board by the museum. The exhibition was moved for this period to a Penang State Museum building at Macalister Road No 57.
Written October 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

macedonboy
Glasgow, UK157,500 contributions
This is an interesting museum documenting the history of Penang with an eclectic mix of exhibits. It’s not the most fascinating museum in the world, but the exhibits are good quality and mostly come with descriptions. I especially liked the mock-up of traditional Chinese houses.
Written February 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nomadman411978
London, UK3,169 contributions
Solo
The Penang State museum is currently in the the old hospital building in McAllister Road whilst the main museum building is being renovated which I was told could take several years.
So the current museum is really makeshift with just a fraction of the items of the museum being exhibited in McAlister Road. There is something of the history of the island and some historical exhibits relating to the various communities. Entrance is only one RM and will take around 30 minutes.
Written June 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Choo-Beng G
Singapore, Singapore254 contributions
Friends
Pity. I had looked forward to visiting this place as I had heard that they have sown rare artefacts from the now demos lived stately mansions of Penang. Also they have a sterling collection of Peranakan antiques as well.
Imagine my disappointment getting there on a sunny afternoon to see that the place is still closed. I didn’t manage to get to the temporary venue at MacAlister Street.
Written July 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ayllim
Adelaide, Australia115 contributions
Solo
According to the Star newspaper dated 25 March 2017, the museum will remain closed for 3 years for major renovation works.
There is a temp museum at 57 Macalister Rd but nowhere as good.
Pity the Musuem staff cannot be bothered to update their website and Facebook to clearly state this basic bit of information!
Or to correctly say that they are closed during Public Holidays!
Written January 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

emmeister
Kuching, Malaysia179 contributions
Solo
The museum ia closed for developmental works till November 2017. The temporaet museum is now located at 57 Macalister Road occupying a former hospital. Nothing much on display at the moment unless you are interested in the history of the building.
Written September 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mukherjee_av
Kolkata (Calcutta), India67 contributions
Family
Located on Lebuh Farquhar, entry fees are RM1/-. A great way to spend some quality time looking at the heritage of Penang. Some cars used by important people are also on show including the one which was fired upon.
Written January 27, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ACEY1
Rugeley, UK30 contributions
Couples
The main building is closed for renovation so it’s been moved. 1MR per person but there’s nothing really here.

B block has a nice calligraphy image of a ship, two beds, some clothes, tiffins and a video of I think a wedding. Well presented, air conditioned but no information explaining the exhibit or its purpose.

C block has a mock classroom. There are replicas of the Free School newsletter which have some interesting and dated articles (especially when it comes to women and education). Some information about the Free School of Penang and photographs of the staff. There is also an exhibit of young adults reinventing the traditional tiffin case.

It’s all air conditioned, places to sit in C block. If you have a spare 1MR and want 10-20mins escape from the humidity then crack on but I wouldn’t make the effort to visit.
Written December 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

castiel21
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia768 contributions
Family
My kids really excited to the visit the museum and to learn more about penang history.

It's really difficult to park our vehicle because lack of parking space. We had no other choice but to park at fort Cornwallis's parking lot. Nearly 10 minutes walk.

When we arrived at the museum, we saw a notice stating the museum was closed for renovation until july. Really frustrated. They should do partial renovation or maybe do it not during the peak season.

But no matter what, they should provide ample parking space.
Written May 3, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

angooredcow
Springfield516 contributions
Couples
This is not your typical museum as we know it in the western world. It does not have big windows, fancy lighting, huge glass cases, interactive displays, many levels of exhibits, and priceless objects. This is just a simple small museum housed either in an old school or next to a school called Hutchings Primary School.

It is in town and an easy walk from any part of downtown. It is almost adjacent to the historic Anglican Church and diagonally across from one of the oldest girls' school in Malaysia, The Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. It is also a short walk from the Temple of the Goddess of Mercy and the Esplanade. You will pass many frangipani trees with beautiful fragrant white flowers. Stop to smell the flowers. Just be aware of the punitive heat which will slow you down.

The admission price is very small, more like a donation to the cause rather than a fee. It is worth a visit because it captures Penang's past which is quickly fading due to overdevelopment and a disregard for history.

There are beautiful artifacts from all three cultures -- Chinese, Indian, and Malay. Some of them are impressive and definitely, interesting. As you stroll from exhibit to exhibit, you will get a very good sense of what it was like in Penang not too long ago. Some things are still in existence in contemporary Penang but much of that particular lifestyle has sadly and definitely disappeared.

So much more can be done for this museum to make it a real museum, in every sense of the word. I am not sure, however, whether there is a lack of meaningful artifacts, a shortage of skilled curators to present the museum more effectively or a limited budget or disinterest. Much more can be done to reflect Penang's past. But, on the brighter side of things, this museum is at least a step and an effort in the right direction to showcase Penang before it is too late.

The museum is an educational and cultural lesson for tourists. It is down memory lane for the older Malaysians. A rich historical past has given way to alas, a modern life.

The building is air-conditioned, an escape from the heat, to say the least. There are cold drinks sold and clean bathrooms.

As part of a well-rounded visit to Penang, the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery is highly recommended.
Written April 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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