Taiping is home to the oldest museum in Peninsular Malaysia. Located just three kilomteres from the town centre opposite the equally historic Taiping Prison, Perak Museum showcases the history of Perak and its relevance to the present and future.
Built in 1883, the museum was the brainchild of Leonard Wray Junior who was botanist, geologist, chief officer for Larut Garden and the museum’s first curator.
Leonard started the museum with four galleries, a library and an administrative section, which had a curator, a taxidermist, a clerk and a caretaker.
These four galleries displayed zoological, archaeological, ethnological and herbarium materials, much of it recorded and collected by Leonard himself.
The museum’s library is also the first in Malaysia and since inception, it has provided invaluable reference books, periodicals, government gazettes and other materials on anthropology, archaeology, history, culture, nature and science.
The British officials in Perak then donated most of the books, many of which were in English and today, the library’s collection is over 6,000 with few of them considered quite rare and priceless.
Currently, the Department of Museums and Antiquities is in charge of Perak Museum which is also under the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism.
Many of the museum’s earlier collections still remains on display and to date, the total accumulated collections is 8,474, consisting of 5,074 cultural collections, 523 nature collections and 2,877 miscellaneous collections including archaeological items.
Interesting and rare collections Include stuffed animals and skeletons that are well over a hundred years old.
As one enters the museum, the throne of the former Sultan of Perak dominates.
Well maintained and informative, the museum reflect Perak’s rich historical heritage through its impressive collection of zoology, pre-history, economy and ethnology artifacts.
Visiting hours are between 9am and 5pm, including holidays, except on the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidilada. Admission is free.