Centuries-old Penang museum to get RM20m restoration

By Opalyn Mok
The 200-year-old state museum at Farquhar Street will undergo a RM20 million restoration work from April 15 onwards. ― Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, March 24 ― The 200-year-old Penang state museum along Farquhar Street here will be closed for a RM20 million restoration project starting April 15.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the project is by the Penang State Museum Board in partnership with the George Town Conservation and Development Corporation (GTCDC).

“The building has not been fully restored or upgraded since its inception in 1817,” Lim said when announcing the project at his office today.

He said the state will allocate RM2 million to repair the building while the remainder will come from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, one of the partners in GTCDC.

The state museum building, categorised as a Grade 1 historical building, was formerly the Penang Free School before the school was relocated.

The restoration will retain the historical building's structure, but modernise its interior to be an important cultural resource centre for the community.

Another contemporary building will also be constructed next to the main structure to house the state's extensive art collections.

During the two-year restoration, the museum's collections and artefacts will be temporarily exhibited at the state museum premises on Macalister Road starting in July.

GTCDC is a tripartite partnership between the state government's Chief Minister's Incorporated, Think City Sdn Bhd and Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

It is a special-purpose vehicle set up to improve public spaces in accordance to the George Town Special Area Plan.

The projects it is undertaking include the improvement, regeneration, activation and upgrading of the Waterfront Precinct, the Clan Jetties, the Street of Harmony, Fort Cornwallis and Syed Al-Attas Mansion.