Malacca or Melaka in Malaysia resembles many beautiful things: ancient buildings, breathtaking attractions, an incredible variety of food, and a rich culture dating back centuries.
The influences of the Portuguese, Dutch, and British are alive throughout your Malacca tour, meaning the building structures in the heart of the City has a rich European flavour.
It’s also the Historical State of Malaysia, home to numerous heritage buildings that speak volumes of the country’s past and delve into the fascinating culture.
However, if you want to get under the skin of Malacca’s history, the best discoverable way is to visit one of its many incredible museums.
In doing so, you are going to find out a whole lot of incredible stories and facts on Malaysian History.
Six of the best Museums in Malacca you should visit for a historical Education
Below is a list of six of the best museums in Malacca which you should visit for a full education on the city’s history, traditions and culture.
It doesn’t cost a lot to visit these excellent museums when looking for things to do in Melaka. Therefore, you could make a great day out of it, gathering the knowledge of an incredible city.
1. The Stadthuys
An iconic landmark representing many images of Malacca, after all, the Stadhuys building has been around since 1650.
Established by the Dutch, it’s now recognized as the oldest Dutch building this side of the world in the Southern Hemisphere.
The vibrant Dutch colonial building, which stands out for all to see in its terracotta red colours, once served as the residence of the Dutch Officer, followed by the successive governments including Portuguese and the British.
The Stadhuys final works were completed in 1980, and by 1982 it was converted into a museum.
Today, it’s is a top attraction and heritage building in Malacca.
It’s home to the Melaka History and Ethnography Museum, where you’ll learn about the history of the city from 1400 through 1957, which is when Malaya achieved their independence.
2. Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum
The Sultanate Palace Museum Melaka is an awe-inspiring wooden replica of the majestic 15th-century palace belonging to the Sultan Mansur Shah.
The palace was painstakingly completed in 1985, following details taken from the 16th century Malay Annals text.
The text says that the Sultan Mansur Shah’s palace, which features seven tiers, was constructed entirely without the use of nails and relied on wooden carved pillars for support.
Unfortunately, the annals say that the palace was destroyed one year after the Sultan left the throne when struck by lightning.
The three-storey museum features several displays, including one of the traditional costumes, jewellery, and weaponry.
Visitors will also get the chance to learn about the history of the Melaka sultanate through the intricate diorama display, which is a story of betrayal with a made-up lie.
3. People’s Museum Melaka
Truly a one-of-a-kind institution, the People’s Museum in Malacca is made up of several small museums under one roof.
There are three floors filled with a variety of exciting exhibits, all housed in a 1960’s era council building located on the historic centre of town.
Each floor of the People’s Museum Melaka has its theme. The ground floor tells the story of Melaka’s economic progress, showcases the many ethnic groups living in Malaysia and traditional musical instruments.
On the first floor is a Kite Museum, dedicated to the kite and how it has helped in long-distance communication, during the war, and a leisurely pastime we have all enjoyed previously.
It also explains how the flying kites were made in different countries, the materials used to make kites, and much more detailed information worth absorbing.
Other popular Malaysian pastimes are also depicted at the Museum, including traditional games such as Kelerent, Kabadi, Mahjong, Spinning Tops, Sepak Takraw, and much more.
On the second floor is a Beauty Museum, dedicated to different perceptions and interpretations of beauty from all over the globe.
You’ll get to learn about filed teeth, body piercings, tattoos, lip disks, and other ways that various cultures use to show beauty.
The People’s Museum also houses the Eurasian Community Gallery.
It’s interesting to peek into what exactly constitutes a Eurasian while providing historical titbits on Joan Margaret Marbeck, known as the Kristang Poet of Melaka.
4. Muzium TLDM Melaka
The Royal Malaysian Navy Museum, locally known as the Muzium Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia (TLDM), showcases 19th century salvaged ships that sank in the Straits of Malacca.
It houses an incredible collection of ships as well as a modern display of military uniforms, weapons, medals, emblems, and safety gear used back in the day.
The Museum Melaka, which was opened in 1995, is significant for educating the public about the role of the Royal Malaysian Navy.
Several documents in the Muzium TLDM discuss how the navy was formed, evolved through the years, and the activities they engaged in during the time.
5. Malaysia Architecture Museum
If you love architecture, you’re in for a treat at the Malaysia Architecture Museum.
It showcases the vast history of Malaysian architecture, from its humble early years to present day, when modern skyscrapers dominate the city.
The Malaysia architecture museum also provides a glimpse into the influences of the Chinese, Arab, Indian, and European settlers on the country’s architecture.
Thanks to their influence, Malaysia’s architecture is now recognized for its unique blend of designs.
Stunning wooden models, as well as graphics and multi-media, are all used in the Museum to tell the story of many popular buildings in the country.
You’ll also get to learn about the features of a typical Malay home, Borneo’s longhouses, and many more amazing features of work.
The building of the Malaysia Architecture Museum itself is worth noting; it dates back to the 1700s and used as a residence during the Dutch colonial period for government officials.
By the British colonial rule, it also served as an administrative office.
After Malaysia’s independence, the building became an office for the Malacca Water Board.
By 1999, the Museum underwent restoration then turned into a museum that stands before you in 2004.
6. Maritime Museum Malacca
Another iconic museum is the Maritime Museum in Malacca, which chronicles the long history of the city as an international trade route.
Also known as the Flora de Lamar, the Museum’s nickname is taken from the Portuguese ship that sank in Malacca while on its way to Portugal.
The boating and ship enthusiasts will have a ball at the many ship models on display!
There is a fantastic replica of the ship on-site; it’s 34 meters high and 8 meters wide, housing several artefacts and displays inside.
Beautiful paintings depict the role of the Straits of Malacca for early traders, its maritime history, and the golden age of the Sultanate when it was once the Emporium of the East.
Aside from displays, the Maritime Museum Melaka also depicts the various eras of Malacca, starting from the Malacca Sultanate through the Portuguese, Dutch, and British period.
There you have it!
The museums of Malacca offer a fun, insightful way to learn about the city’s rich history and heritage.
As a bonus for the tourist, they’re all very affordable to visit, and an exciting education of a state’s history awaits.