Georgetown Museums

(Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia)

For a small island, Penang has more than its share of interesting museums, heritage and culture. Most are based in and around Georgetown and concentrate mainly on the colonial history of the island, although two - the Toy Museum and the War Museum, are unique, not just to Penang, but to the whole of Malaysia.

Especially notable in Georgetown is the Penang State Museum, which focuses on the island's fascinating history. Its many galleries display antiques, traditional costumes, documents and historic artefacts, all housed in a magnificent colonial mansion. The Pinang Peranakan Mansion is another good choice for tourists looking to delve into the past.

Penang State Museum

Address: Lebuh Farquhar, Georgetown, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 04 261 3144
All of the region's past settlers and communities are clearly documented here, while there are also some important local artefacts, such as elaborately carved beds and silk clothing previously worn by the Straits Chinese people, (also known as Peranakans or Baba Nyonyas). There is a section devoted to changing temporary exhibits, where you will find various colonial prints and nautical memorabilia from around Penang. Next door is a kiosk occupying an old funicular car, which sells souvenirs to raise funds for the Penang Heritage Trust.
Open hours: Saturday to Thursday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge

Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Address: 29 Lebuh Gereja, Georgetown, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 04 264 2929
Standing on Church Street (Lebuh Gereja), this elegant Georgian mansion / grand townhouse gives a glimpse of the life of a wealthy Peranakan businessman in the early days of colonial rule in Penang. The artefacts celebrate the Peranakan culture and way of life, with the affluence seeing the interior of the mansion embellished with opulent English, Scottish, European and Chinese decor and antiquities. Dating from the late 19th century, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion was formerly the residence of Chung Keng Quen, a prominent local merchant known for his secret society meetings.
Open hours: daily - 09:30 to 15:00, guided tours - by appointment
Admission: charge, children six years old and under are free

Penang Islamic Museum

Address: 128 Lebuh Armenian, Georgetown, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 04 262 0172
Located in yet another fine heritage building, the Islamic Museum stands on Armenian Street (Lebuh Armenian) and occupies a beautifully restored villa. As you step inside you will be introduced to the beginnings of the faith and its development in Malaysia, from its early days to the present times. The many displays feature the beauty of Muslim iconography, as well as explaining the philosophies of the Islamic religion. Upstairs is the focal point, a huge diorama depicting a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Open hours: Wednesday to Monday - 09:30 to 20:00
Admission: free

Penang Toy Museum

Address: Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 02 460 2096
This unusual attraction is Malaysia's very first Toy Museum, being currently called home to a massive 100,000 exhibits, including models, every kind of toy imaginable, dolls and an exhaustive collection of dolls houses, fully fitted out with delicate miniatures of furniture, clothes, accessories and utensils. This is a must for families with younger children and the Penang Toy Museum is easy to find, being situated in the northerly suburb of Tanjung Bungah and close to the Copthorne Orchid Hotel.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 21:00
Admission: charge

Penang War Museum

Address: Merah Barat Daya, Batu Muang, Penang, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 06 626 5142
Located just a short drive outside of Georgetown, on the peninsula's southern tip and housed in a WWII fort built by the British, this is the first War Museum in Malaysia. The exhibits give a glimpse into life in Penang during the war, and contribute to an overall view of the island's history during those difficult years.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 19:00
Admission: charge

More information about Penang museums.