When I was small, I had the liberty of visiting The National Museum of Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur (KL), when it hosted what was then known as Pameran Terokai Hantu: Misteri dan Budaya (Discovering Ghosts Showcase: Mysteries and Culture) gallery back in 2003. A post-PMR event (a time before PT3), it was a chance for my schoolmates and me to blow off some steam and visit the big city for the first time, well for some of us anyway.
Though the itinerary of the day, also featured a visit to several other locations such as Putrajaya (then was still newly minted) and Sunway Pyramid, for most of us coming down to KL from Ipoh, it was indeed freedom for most of us to venture out into the unknown without the purview of our parents.
As we arrived at the National Museum, amongst the first at the time to enter, I was astounded at the breadth of exhibits on show at the time, which ushered me into the foray of museum diving, especially in my travels.
As I grew older my fondness for museums grew, so much so, that during my off days working in London, I took the time to visit The British Museum in London and let me tell you it was indeed one the best museum visits I’ve ever had.
Remembering that fondness, I was astounded when I asked people what they did when they tour the country in search of some time away from the big city, most would laugh at my suggestion of a museum visit.
Hence, to help save our history and national heritage, here is my argument as to why museums should be a must-visit every time you plan to go on a holiday!
YOU DO IT FOR THE EXPERIENCE
Shopping is a mainstay for any trip spent locally or abroad, but the museums you pay for the experience. Look at the London Museum – it is FREE, yes it is free to enter, but if you are compelled to make a donation simply buy the guide book and donate £5!
But even if a fee is required, it is totally worth it if in your mind you want to relive all the mummy movies you’ve watched or the Night at the Museum movies you’ve watched in the past. I mean why would you not spend £5 to watch Cleopatra or find out how strong the Malay Empire was back then before the British took it all away.
Hey, why wouldn’t you buy experience? Imagine going through thousands of year’s worth of history in a sitting? And let me tell you based on personal experience I spent a total of 5 days visiting each section of the museum just to make sure that I did not miss anything important!
YOU DO IT TO EXPAND YOUR HORIZON
Call it a paradigm shift or a different perspective, visiting museums will allow you to change your perspective and place yourself in the shoes of the artist. You can never understand why people can look at paintings for hours on end, but now you know why – it is because people are trying to connect with the artist and understand their uniques story.
YOU DO IT TO GET LESSONS IN HUMANITY
Museums are ideal places to learn about human history and also the cultures of different countries. In a world where we strive to be borderless, by understanding more about one another, Museums allow you to experience history by immersing you in the mindset of the inhabitant of specific time periods and countries.
When I visited a World War II tribute museum in Liverpool, I was led into a room where young men of the time were recorded on film and were replayed portraying the journey they took from Liverpool to the battle frontier of Europe. It was like Call of Duty, but with a very painful but real ending.
I was mesmerised at the thought of how they portrayed their story well, with the right representation of what life was like at the time.
YOU DO IT TO FUEL YOUR CONVERSATIONS
What better way to tell your friends about your trip when you tell them how immersed you are in history by not only visiting historic sites but also diving head-on into their culture at different points in time.
Museums offer a variety of subjects to talk about, like innovations in science, unique historical findings and experience.
YOU DO IT BECAUSE IT IS FUN
Old School is the new cool! And what better to know about the cool than seeing it in action, or at least as a part of a complete package. We have all seen P. Ramlee films, and I myself is blessed to know that my wife’s late grandfather was Ahmad Mahmood himself who acted alongside the great P. Ramlee.
So naturally, I am buried in artefacts of a bygone era, LPs, briefcases and many more items from the 50s are readily available at my in-law’s home in Petaling Jaya.
Imagine seeing all that, maybe a blast from the past in a museum. An era that makes you remember of your childhood, of how people of the time were as advanced as we are today, full of innovation and a sense of keeping it in style.
Museums preserve the legacy of humanity, make us learn from our mistakes and celebrate our victories, keeping the world enlightened for the current and future generations.