Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 11 December 2013 • Destination
There’s nothing more inspiring than a person who is strong-willed and pursuits the ambition for the good of her/himself and others. Malang city is fortunate to have a citizen such Dwi Cahyono, who has built one of the best museums in Indonesia, called Museum Malang Tempo Doeloe, using his own resources. He’s also the owner of Inggil restaurant right next door to the museum, which I will write about later.
The name of the museum means “Malang In The Past”. While it does look waaaay back to the prehistoric time, Museum Malang Tempo Doeloe dedicates quite a lot of its display portion to the history of Indonesian independence in general.
Entering Museum Malang Tempo Doeloe is like entering a time tunnel, starting from the time when Malang was just a plain surrounded by mountains of Bromo Tengger, Kawi, Arjuno, and Semeru. Beneath that plain, laid remains of prehistoric times. Fossils and artifacts are displayed in the museum, as well as the process of excavation itself! The bald archeologists seriously surprised me, I thought they were real, working in that dramatic blue underground chamber!
A tunnel of forest then lead us to the era of Singasari Kingdom, which was founded in 13th century. Singasari was one of the most important kingdoms in the history of Indonesia, maybe even Asia. The kingdom, which was founded by the tricky and powerful Ken Arok, expanded its territory to Bali, Borneo, even the Malay Peninsula at the reign of Kertanegara, their last king. Singasari Kingdom later on became the predecessor of the Majapahit Kingdom, which was even more powerful and expansive and ruled until the 15th century.
Key figures of the kingdom were displayed in ways I’ve never seen before, at least not in Indonesian museums. Ken Arok was afloat in his meditation, the keris maker Mpu Gandring was levitating, and the (supposedly) beautiful Ken Dedes was sitting beside a statue of herself. Dude, as beautiful as she was supposed to be, to me she was the scariest of all in the museum, sitting in a dark corner with her long black hair. I had to ask Diyan to take the picture so I didn’t have to look at her for too long. Yeah, I’m a Scaredy Smurf K
You can perhaps imagine the old domestic life of the Javanese by seeing the displays of artifacts, such as the earthenware vessels, the corn grinder made of stone, a wooden food mixer, and a mouse trap. Most of these equipments are predicted to spring up from the early of 20th century.
And then you enter a tunnel with various vintage things mostly from the 1900s to 1940s, like cameras, phones, bicycles and suitcases. Things that hipsters would definitely love to have nowadays – and I’m not saying I wouldn’t.
A hallway plastered with pictures of Indonesian battles over independence connected the kingdom era to the Japanese colonial era. Prisons, war rooms, propaganda magazine covers, forefather statues and war helmets ended the tour in the museum.
Museum Malang Tempo Doeloe may be one of Indonesia’s best museums so far, especially in terms of display (another good one is the Ullen Sentalu), but I wouldn’t compare it to big museums in Singapore, US, or maybe Europe. I admit that Indonesians in general have poor archiving and lack of appreciation toward history. That is why I think Museum Malang Tempo Doeloe is a gem in an underrated city of Malang.
Museum Malang Tempo Doeloe is located in the heart of Malang city, onli 5 minutes walk from the Tugu monument.
Address: Jalan Gajah Mada 2, Malang.
Opens everyday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
IDR 10,000 (kindergarten – middle school students),
IDR 15,000 (high school students, college students, people with Malang ID)
IDR 25,000 (anybody other than the stated above, except maybe toddlers).
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