New Straits Times
Nancy: Muzium Negara has potential to regenerate economy
KUALA LUMPUR: Muzium Negara has the potential to be a major contributor to regenerate the country’s economy.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said it was her ministry’s intention to ensure that the industry recovered and moved on in line with its slogan, “Coming Back Stronger”.
“Many tourism activities have begun operations physically and are attracting the crowds.
“I believe the initiatives being put in place will offer diversity and variation to the national tourism products.
“Museums, too, play a role in providing beneficial knowledge of the country based on history, culture and nature.
“As such, we will ensure that museum programmes will return following the lull in activities owing to the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said at the launch of the “Magic of Taxydermy: Eternal Life” exhibition and campaign to donate collections for artifacts at Muzium Negara.
Present were ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Noor Zari Hamat, his deputy (culture) Saraya Arbi and Department of Museums director-general Datuk Kamarul Baharin A. Kasim.
Nancy said following the Covid-19 pandemic, the museum sector experienced a 70 per cent dip in visitors since last year.
The National Museums Department recorded 241,909 visitors at all 22 museums nationwide, from January to last month, compared with 2.782 million for 2019 and 2.353 million for the previous year.
Thus far, it resulted in the collection of RM3.7 million in the sale of entry tickets and journals, and rental of exhibition space for 2019, as compared with RM2.6 million for 2018.
At the exhibition, which will run until March 18 next year, 126 frozen fauna were displayed for education and research purposes.
It included a 120-year-old Sumateran rhinoceros, which was preserved by taxidermist E.J. Keilich from the Perak Museum. The species has become extinct in the country.
Another highlight was a male parrot, which was preserved from 1963.
Also on display were 36 species of mammals, seven reptiles, 54 avian, five amphibians, eight fish, one Asian elephant and 16 skeletons from the 1960s.
Nancy said almost every country in the world had a natural history museum to exhibit and educate society on the variety of fauna and flora in their country.
She said despite efforts since 1989, Malaysia had yet to establish such a museum unlike Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
“The uniqueness of preserved fauna is that it can continue to be exhibited over the years, thanks to the trained taxidermists and museum conservator.”
Meanwhile, Kamarul Baharin said the museum took the initiative to organise the exhibition following great interest in the history and development of taxidermy in the country.
“The application of taxidermy knowledge permits dead organisms to be preserved so that their evolution can be studied and researched.
“We hope the exhibition will attract society to value the art of taxidermy, apart from appreciating the preservation of the national fauna treasures,” he said, adding that about 20,000 people were expected to visit the exhibition.