National Textile Museum
A museum dedicated to the finer details of Malaysia's cultural tapestry
MORE ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE
The National Textile Museum is snugly situated in a far corner of Kuala Lumpur's historic Merdeka Square, housed in a building that was part of the British administration complex built when the Malay states were part of the British empire. Like many other buildings of the administration complex, the building incorporates Islamic and Moghul architectural designs and was designed by A. C. Norman, a British architect responsible for many of Kuala Lumpur's most renowned landmarks. The original building was completed in 1896, and was occupied by various government agencies until it was refurbished as a museum in October 2007. The museum earmarked for the building would become known as the National Textile Museum.
Malaysia is a land filled with various cultures that have longstanding traditional textiles. The many ethnic groups that live in the country developed their own weaving techniques, which were further refined through the use of different materials, some local, others traded from travellers from foreign lands. The resulting textiles were stunning and beautiful and became highly sought after throughout the world. Batik, songket and pua kumbu – the Iban ceremonial cloth – are only three examples of these fine textiles.
The museum highlights not only the various textiles that form an important part of the Malaysian cultural fabric, but more importantly, the intricate processes involved in producing the textiles. These processes are shown in detail in the museum's first gallery, the Pohon Budi Gallery. The next two galleries, the Pelangi Gallery, and the Teluk Berantai Gallery. The Pelangi Gallery, located at the ground floor with the Pohon Budi Gallery, symbolises the variety of ethnic groups in the country. The final gallery, the Ratna Sari Gallery, houses two National Treasures, the Celepa Diraja Terengganu (the Royal Terengganu Tobacco Box), and the Gending Melayu (Malay Belt Buckle), along with traditional jewellery and accessories.
The National Textile Museum is open daily from 9 am till 6 pm and is closed only on two Muslim holidays, the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha. Admission is free and guided tours are available upon request.