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A Day at Kuala Lumpur’s National Textile Museum

The National Textile Museum, also known as Muzium Tekstil Negara, is a museum in Kuala Lumpur that showcases the origins, development, and techniques of local textiles and their role in Malaysian heritage.

The museum is housed in the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad Building, located right in front of Dataran Merdeka. Inside, visitors can explore four exhibition galleries showcasing renowned textile collections, accessories, and clothing.

Galeri Pohon Budi: This gallery explores the history and innovations of textiles, from ancient times to the present. It also showcases old tools, materials, and traditional techniques of textile-making, such as weaving, embroidery, printing, and more. The main focus is on the predominant Malaysian textiles, such as songket, pua kumbu, telepuk, tekatan, keringkam, linangkit, decorative beads and batik.

Galeri Pelangi: The Pelangi gallery celebrates the diverse and vibrant textiles of Malaysia’s ethnic groups. You can discover how different types of batik have changed over time. You can also appreciate the exquisite silk, gold, and beadwork of the Chinese, Baba, and Nyonya communities. The gallery displays fabrics from Sarawak and Sabah as well, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of these regions.

Galeri Teluk Berantai: The Teluk Berantai motif, which symbolises unity and solidarity, is a distinctive feature of Malay songket weaving. This gallery honours Malay heritage with collections of various fabrics and clothing, such as tekatan, kelingkan, kain tenun, kain limar, kain telepuk, kain berayat, and various other costumes. These items illustrate the richness and intricacy of Malay textile craftsmanship.

Galeri Ratna Sari: Ratna Sari displays a curated collection of jewellery crafted by artisans from different ethnic groups in Malaysia, including Malay, Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli and the indigenous groups of Sabah and Sarawak. These pieces, made of gold, silver, copper, beads and plants, were worn by people of all races in the past and are designed to adorn various parts of the body.

We visited the museum on September 1, 2023. The entrance fee was RM2 for adults, while children 12 years old and below are free. The museum is open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM, with the last ticket purchase available until 4:30 PM. Closed on the first and second days of Hari Raya celebrations.

We learned a lot from the visit. The map detailing the history of textiles in Malaysia and showcasing which state produced what textile was particularly helpful. The museum also showed and described the techniques used in great detail. One hour was not enough to read all these descriptions.

The National Textile Museum is located near Dataran Merdeka, in the southeast direction. If you go by train, Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek are the closest LRT stations to the museum. Here’s a map for LRT, MRT, Monorail Lines & BRT Sunway Line for your reference. For buses, click here.

If you prefer to travel by bus, you can take the KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus and get off at Dataran Merdeka, which is right in front of the museum. Alternatively, you can use any bus service that stops at Dataran Merdeka.

Here’s the Google Maps link to the museum. It’s a good idea to give them a call at +60326943457 first to check if the museum is open or not.

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Documenting places we visited and what we learned from such visits.

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