Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Museum Tour

"Where do you want to go to this holiday, kids?" I asked my sons with a 'slightly' worried tone.. and I was quite relieved with their answer.. "You promised us to visit the museums! That's where we're going!"

My husband and I were glad that the boys chose the museums for their holiday activity. Amusement parks were surely packed. It would be the same with picnic areas -which are few  around Jakarta-.

I quickly discussed with my husband about which museums we should visit. We came up with two well-known museums; The National Museum and The Museum of Jakarta History. We thought Aza would be excited to see the National Museum as there are lots of statues, while Ariq has been curious about The Museum of Jakarta History, as the other name of the museum is Fatahillah Museum.

Fatahillah originally came from Gujarat, India. He became a resident of Jakarta, and he fought against the Dutch soldiers occupying Jakarta. We gave the name to Ariq as his middle name. We hope it would lift his confidence, knowing that he was named after a hero from his hometown.

We were taking Kyra on the trip, so didn't have to worry about her feeding times.. ;-)

We were a little worried about whether Kyra should come inside the museums. I suggested -since I am the one who loves history-, if the museum looked to dusty or scary, Kyra would stay outside with my husband. My husband agreed, so the biggest problem was solved.

We were staying at my parents' home during the last week of holiday. Therefore, it was half the travel time to the museums, compared to if we were staying at home. We departed at 9.00 and arrived at the National Museum about 9.30.


We entered the museum from the entrance door and went straight to the open area display, then we headed to the main display section. Both sections are the same as the last time I visited -it was about eight years ago-. While I was taking the boys around and explaining things that they were interested in, I saw something familiar.. my husband and Kyra, who were supposed to be waiting at the foyer.

It turned out that the foyer had started to be very hot -being outside-. Moreover, as more cars passing by, the air was not as fresh anymore. My husband didn't stay in the old section of the museum. He took Kyra straight to the museum new section, which was cleaner and better air-conditioned.

These are pictures from the museum's old section:

After the boys had had enough of looking around, asking questions and having their pictures taken, we went to the new section. This was very different from the last time I went. It was completely renovated into a modern-looking building. All the information was displayed both in Indonesian and English, the same with the signs and directions. It was beautiful.

The new section had five floors; floors 1-4 were displays, and floor 5 was office and admin.

On the first floor, we saw various fossils that were found in Indonesia and the hanging posters with information about each fossil. There was also a display stage with pre-historic family mannequins having dinner.. :-)

On the second floor, there were displays of various equipments and vehicles from different eras.

On the third floor, there were displays of various social/cultural structures and an 'Asia' section.

On the fourth floor, there were displays of various ceramic and jewelry from the old kingdoms' royal families.

Unfortunately, on the 2nd and 4th floors, we were not allowed to take pictures. I couldn't see any potential harm, but I was sure the museum had reasons. So we didn't take any pictures on those floors.

A normal visit would take about 3-4 hours around the National Museum. However, since it was a 'children' visit, the fact that Ariq and Aza were still excited after an hour, was a great thing. They would not object staying longer, but lunch time was coming up and most museums in Indonesia close at around 3 p.m. I shifted the boys' interest to lunch, and we were ready to leave the museum in a few minutes.

These are the pictures from the new section:

We had lunch at a seafood place on the way to the Museum of Jakarta History. The place was very busy, but other places are busier -especially fast food outlets-.

After lunch, we quickly continued our trip to the Museum of Jakarta History.

Museum of Jakarta History

This museum is located in the Fatahillah Square, which was the actual 'city square' during the Dutch occupation. The museum was the home of the Governor General, with an underground jail underneath the museum. The guards' hall was located across the museum's backyard.

When we arrived at the museum, it was about half an hour before closing time. There were many people there, and the sky was getting dark -ready to rain-. Being considered a late entry, and coming in with two young boys -which meant the visit would be a quick one-, the attendants gave us a discount on the entrance fee.. Haha..

It was only Rp 200.00 discount -a few cents-, but I found it funny because it wasn't the first time I had a discounted entrance fee at a museum. A few years back, my sister and I visited the Reptile Museum in Canberra. We took the wrong bus and arrived at the museum half an hour before closing time. The attendant suggested us to come back the next day, but we explained that we came from overseas and was only staying a few days. He, then, gave us a discount on the entrance fee.. :-D

Anyway.. we quickly proceed to the upstairs part of the museum, as the attendants suggested. While we were walking up the stairs, Ariq made a comment, "Wow, Mum! These stairs are strong.. They've lasted a long time with so many people walking up and down everyday.."

Every room on the second floor was kept as it was when the museum was still a home of the Governor General. I wanted to take many pictures there, but there were just so many people in the museum, while Aza was asking to go to the bathroom.

The museum was originally built as an office and a house. Therefore, it has many windows and when the windows were open, the air was very refreshing. That was why so many people came to visit the museum nowadays. More than that, the building is an old one with Dutch architecture, which makes it a lovely site to take pictures -even when you are not a big fan of photography-.

After taking Aza to the bathroom, the boys instantly found the old cannon in the backyard, between the museum and the guards' hall. The cannon used to be placed right in the front of the museum, between the two punishment ponds. When the government declared Fatahillah Square a culture reserve and did a major renovation of the site, the cannon was moved to the museum's backyard.

Yes, you read right! There used to be two punishment ponds in front of the museum, but there were not there anymore now. The ponds were about the size of two bathtubs sitting side-by-side with chest-high depth. The current government was probably worried somebody would fall into the empty space by mistake and get injured. In some ways, I was glad the ponds were not there anymore. They always gave me an eerie feeling, whenever I went to the museum..

As the boys requested, I took their pictures with the guards' hall as the background, with the cannon and with the underground jail cell. I never really felt nice seeing the jail, but I thought it was an important point to show the boys, as it was a part of the building and a part of history.

When they had enough for the day -with a promise for a second visit-, we decided to exit the building and took some picture in the Fatahillah Square. There are several other museums around the Fatahillah Square -the area is maintained as culture reserve-, so we will go back there, we just haven't planned it yet.. :-)

When the wind started to blow harder and sky turned darker, we quickly went to the car where my husband was waiting for us with Kyra -Kyra was asleep when we arrived at the museum, and we saw a lot of people at the museum window, so my husband decided to stay in the car with her-.

Phew.. I was glad our first museum visit last year was so much fun that the boys were asking for another trip. Children learn from everything they experience and museums are places where they can learn about things that are not normally present in everyday life.

From the Museum of Jakarta History, we went straight back to my parents' home. Ariq, Aza and Kyra fell asleep right away  car. They were exhausted and so were we.

We slept well that night and planning to rest the next day, but... unexpectedly something else happened.. and we had to make another museum visit.. I'll write about it tomorrow.. ;-)

See you later!

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