Sarawak Museum Journal


One of the visits I had to visit was the Sarawak Museum when I was in Kuching. I have to admit despite my aversion to things Brooke, the Sarawak Museum is a must visit. I did not have the time to go into the museum but only to see if I can buy the Sarawak Museum Journal.

For those who are interested, the Sarawak Museum Old Building was built in 1891 and was extended to its present form in 1911. The building was especially built to permanently house and display local native arts and crafts and collections of local animals as mainly encouraged by the famous naturalist, Alfred Wallace, who was then collecting specimens in the country. The Sarawak Museums comprised of a number of museums. If you have a few days in Kuching and has a penchant for things past, you will not be bored.

Me, I was only interested in the Museum's publication, the Sarawak Museum Journal. The Sarawak Museum Journal has been publishing since 1920s, unlike our own Brunei Museum Journal which started only in 1969. So any articles written about Brunei prior to 1969 was most likely to be found in either the Royal Asiatic Society Malayan Branch (JMBRAS) or in the Sarawak Museum Journal. In fact many of the earlier writings about Brunei and even in the first edition of the journal was the article which I always referred to written by AE Lawrence. In it, he postulated that the first conquests of the newly established Brunei in the 14th century was to conquer Tutong, Belait all the way up to Mukah and Oya when Brunei defeated the Melanau kingdom.

Unfortunately the Museum shop (which was located across the road from the Museum at Tun Abdul Razak Building) had only 30 copies of the entire Sarawak Museum Journal collection. Altogether there should be around 86 copies. The ones they sell are mostly from the 1970s onwards. I bought the whole 30 as these are probably the last ones and if I waited longer, there will be even less. Each copy cost RM$30. They were very heavy. I bought a few books as well plus an old table top cannon.

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