Definition of Museum
As stated by ICOM (The International Council of Museums), a museum is an institution that does not seek monetary profit but rather focuses on educating the public through research and publications and by disseminating knowledge through exhibitions, storing and conserving historical treasures and the cultural heritage of a country. All must be beneficial, pleasurable and at the same time serve as material evidences of man and his surroundings.
Museum in General
In Malaysia, the inception of Museums can be traced to 1883 with the set up of the Perak museum in Taiping by the British Government with Mr. Leonard Wray as its first curator. The Sarawak Museum was then accordingly built in 1888 by Sir Charles Brooke, the second Rajah of Sarawak. To accommodate an increasing number of artifacts, a bigger museum was proposed to be built in Kuala Lumpur. The Selangor Museum was started in 1888 and finished in 1907. The management of both museums were consolidated under the Museum department of the Federated Malay States in 1910. In 1930, the administration was divided into two entities thanks to the decentralization policy of ‘divide and rule’ as set by the British. On the 10th of March 1945, the Selangor Museum was bombed and destroyed. Salvaged artifacts were then temporarily retained at the Perak museum. Shortly after Independence in 1959, the Government employed an architect to design and build the present National Museum on the grounds of the bombed Selangor Museum. With the passing years, more musuems have sprung up in Malaysia as per the initiaves set and carried out by each state government. In 1976, the state government of Pahang Darul Makmur established the Muzium Sultan Abu Bakar.
Phase One (started in 1976)
Allahyarham Tun Haji Abdul Razak expressed his wish that Pahang should have a Museum. This became a reality with the passing of Enactment No 1/1975, August 14th 1975 as gazetted by the Pahang State Assembly. On July 30th 1975, a progress report on the establishment of the State Museum was elucidated by the Chairman of the State Executive Committee to the State Museum Board at Istana Kota Beram. On August 26th 1975, the then Menteri Besar of Pahang, Dato’ Muhammad Jusoh, officially handed over the letters of appointment of the members of the State Museum Board. Tuan Haji Mokhtar bin Haji Mohd. Daud AMN was established as its first chairman. Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah was delighted to hand over Istana Kota Beram as the first State Museum in Pahang Darul Makmur. On the 21st of October 1976, Istana Kota Beram was officially known as Muzium Sultan Abu Bakar.
Phase Two (started in 2009)
Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Chairman of the ECERDC discerned the importance of museums to inculcate the perennial legacy of our heritage, education and as a growing potential for tourism. This commemorative occasion on the branding of the Sultan Abu Bakar Museum by Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah on the 21st October of 2012 brought forth a concept of a museum in a garden – The Intelektual Garden. The open-space concept has encouraged favorable interactions with the visitors at large. These wide open spaces around the Museum complex are used by the visitors either as resting places or to watch any expositions. The museum also highlights a fine collection of invaluable items as well as accurate and comprehensive information on our cultural heritage of the East Coast in particular and Malaysia, generally, as well as exhibiting collections from all corners of the world. In view of this, the Pahang State Museum is duly recognized as a place that preserves and researches collections on arts, culture and heritage to posterity.
Phase Three (started in 2015)
The State Legislative Assembly convened on the 11th. August 2015 and approved a Bill of the Pahang State Museum Corporation to replace the Enactment of the Pahang State Museum of 1975. This transformation is vital in accelerating the progress of the museum in terms of education, conservation, collection and exhibitions as well as expanding and increasing activities of the museum to the local and international community.