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New Exhibition Marks the Return of 412 Artefacts to Kuching, Malaysia

 

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The Treasures from Nusantara exhibition, which opened at the Textile Museum [3]in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, on 16 May, marks the official return to Kuching of 412 artefacts from Museum Nusantara in the city of Delft, The Netherlands. The launch was officiated by Mr. Christoph Prommersberger, the Netherlands’ Deputy Ambassador to Malaysia, in the presence of YB Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, State Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports.

This new exhibition showcases 30 selected objects which are highlights from the collection. The Nusantara Treasures include basketry, stoneware, brassware, beaded accessories, textiles and carvings.

To commemorate the return of these artefacts, a special edition of the Sarawak Museum collections’ booklet is published for the public alongside the exhibition. The booklet highlights nine artefacts that have been documented by Sarawak Museums’ team of curators and research fellows from the Sarawak Museum Campus. A first copy was handed over to the Deputy Ambassador by YB Datuk Karim.

In YB Datuk Karim’s speech last year in Delft, he conveyed the gratitude of the Sarawak State Government on the generous donation of the unique 412 artefacts to the Sarawak Museum. In November 2017 the city of Delft’s Deputy Mayor, Mr. Ferrie Foster, and Delft Director of Heritage, Ms. Janelle Moerman, ceremonially handed over the 412 artefacts [4].

For both the exhibition Treasures from Nusantara and the booklet, the Sarawak Museum extended their gratitude to the Netherlands Embassy in Kuala Lumpur for their generous support and helpful sponsorship. Located at the Textile Museum, the exhibition Treasures from Nusantara will remain open until 31 January 2019. For additional information, please check the exhibition flyer [5].

The return process and the role of ASEMUS

Museum Nusantara closed its doors to the public in 2013 and the city government with Heritage Delft started a project to find new museum owners for the collection of these artefacts. The possibility to acquire a selection of historic artefacts from Borneo came under the attention of the Sarawak Museum Campus’ Senior Project Leader, Hans van de Bunte. The Sarawak Museum being a member of ASEMUS was pointed at the opportunity. A formal request was prepared, which initiated the successful donation by the Dutch institute to the Sarawak Museum.

The Sarawak Museum Campus is a state-funded project to revive the international status of the Sarawak Museum and to build a new museum to showcase Sarawak’s rich cultural and historical heritage, which will incorporate education and public outreach programmes. Its main goal is to establish a world-class museum campus and become one of the best museums in the region.

The Sarawak Museum Department will host the 8th ASEMUS General Conference [6], entitled ‘New curatorial perspectives for a changed world‘, which will take place in Kuching, 14-16 November 2018. Registration is now open.