Located in Kota Batu, Brunei’s national museum was completed in 1970 and offcially opened on February 29, 1972 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Exhibits depicting Brunei’s role in Southeast Asian history going back to the days of the arrival of the Spanish and Portuguese in the 1500s, an Islamic art gallery and a natural history gallery are all to be found here.
Interesting archaeological artefacts on display at the museum include ceramics from Iran and Central Asia, blown glass pieces from Egypt and the Levant dating all the way back to the ninth and tenth centuries. Manuscripts of the Holy Quran, jewellery and Chinese ceramics recovered from Brunei waters are some of the treasures on display at the museum.
The Malay Technology Museum showcases exhibits depicting the traditional lifestyle and practices of Brunei’s Malay and indigenous ethnic groups, such as handicraft, shing and other traditional hunting techniques, cloth weaving, boat construction, sago production and stilt architecture.
These displays are spread out over three distinct halls or galleries: The first showcases traditional Malay houses in Kampong Ayer; the second houses exhibits depicting traditional technology used in Kampong Ayer and the third gallery showcases technologies and crafts used by the indigenous ethnic groups such as Dusun, Murut and Kedayan –
in the inland villages.
Built to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s ascension to the throne in 1992, the Royal Regalia Building is home to a collection of royal memorabilia, including the royal chariot, ceremonial armoury, the jewel-encrusted crowns used during His Majesty’s coronation and a replica of the throne which is used by the Sultan on state occasions.
Housed inside the Royal Regalia Building is the Royal Regalia Exhibition, the Royal Exhibition Gallery, the
Perpuspaan Gallery, the Silver Jubilee Gallery and the Constitutional History Gallery.
Located just next door to the Royal Regalia Building, the Brunei History Centre was established in 1982 to conduct research into the history of Brunei Darussalam, with particular focus on the background and genealogies of the Sultans of Brunei.
This centre was established to preserve the traditional arts and handicraft that form an important part of Brunei’s culture and heritage.
Located at Jalan Residency along the Brunei River, the centre not only displays items such as handwoven baskets, silverware, brassware, jong sarat and carved wood items but also provides courses for youth interested in learning these traditional crafts.
Located along the banks of the Brunei River, the newest addition to Brunei’s list of museums was built on a 8.74-hectare land at a cost of $5 million under Brunei’s 10th National Development Plan. The museum’s aim is to showcase Brunei’s role as an important centre of maritime trade in ancient times.
The museum – whose exterior has been designed to resemble the front view of a ship – houses three galleries; the highlights being the exhibition of the shipwreck found in 1997, complete with 13,261 mostly porcelain artifacts and Pulau Terendak – an island discovered in the archaeological site of Kota Batu.
Located in Kampong Ayer and accessible only by water taxi, this mini museum has been around since 1960 and houses a variety of artefacts which include items from Japan’s occupation of Brunei, Chinese antiquities from the Ming and Sung dynasties and a collection of old currency.
Set within the connes of Kampong Tamoi Tengah in Kampong Ayer, the Tamoi Tengah Cultural Village offers visitors the chance to experience cultural shows and activities such as bird watching and traditional shing. The centrepiece house in the village is exquisitely fashioned in 18th century Brunei style and bedecked in traditional finery and antiques dating back 300 years.
The $3-million Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery was built to provide visitors a glimpse of Kampong Ayer’s storied past while preserving part of Brunei’s heritage. Five mini galleries within the building showcase the water village’s history and origin, with handicraft and relics from a bygone era also on display.
A multimedia display providing information on various tourist sites in Brunei, an audiovisual room where screenings of archived footage of life in Kampong Ayer are given, a souvenir shop selling traditional handicraft, an observation tower which gives visitors a fantastic panoramic view of the water village and the capital’s skyline are all to be found at the centre. The Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery can be reached by taking a water
taxi from the Royal Wharf.
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