There is a saying that goes,”If Malaysia is an oyster; Penang is the pearl in its shell.”
Long-touted as The Pearl Of The Orient, Penang offers a treasure trove of historical gems that are carefully (and lovingly) preserved by its people.
And in this spirit, the Made In Penang Interactive Museum (MIPIM) strives to take visitors to travel back in time and experience first-hand the rich cultural heritage that turned Penang to what it is today.
Strategically at the No.3 Weld Quay building nearby the Swettenham Pier,the establishment once stood the Behn Mayer trading company that monopolized the coconut oil,tin and tobacco market in the late 19th century.
Since its launch in late 2013, MIPIM had already garnered massive attention as being the first of its kind in Malaysia.
In keeping with its belief of history should be seen and felt, the museum’s curators encourage visitors to be a part of the displays, thus shakingÂ off any preconceptions you might have of a museum as dusty and didactic. In fact, it’s more of the opposite.
The three-dimensional impressions are a distinctive concept and certainly provide a breath of fresh air to Malaysia’s city of street art. Their collection of murals utilise shades and varying contours to add to their strength as well as props to create a real-life mind trickery on photographs that is a sure-fire hit with the kids and adults alike.
Essentially, it is Penang in a nutshell and are divided into five sections: 1. Great Wall of Penang, 2. Miniature Local Trades, 3. Miniature Weld Quay, 4. Trick Art Gallery and 5. Interactive Theatre.
Upon entrance, you’ll be greeted with what MIPIM calls ‘The Great Wall Of Penang’ that depicts life in 19th century Weld Quay. A busy port with foreign coolies loading and unloading goods into ships, rickshaw pullers waiting patiently for customers to hitch a ride, and Chinese-owned shops are displayed for revellers to enjoy and take photo ops with the ‘interactive’ elements. And there is a surprise waiting at the end of the tunnel: a true-to-life drawing of the island’s very own Chief Minister sits proudly with cups of coffee!
Another intriguing point of interest is the miniature Weld Quay and Traditional Trades exhibit. Â These small-scale scenes and figurines provides a glimpse of life in olden Penang. Each piece has astonishing details and was meticulously hand-crafted, even the miniature durians looks too good to eat!
Moving on to the star of MIPIM and the main attraction, is the Trick Art Gallery. Each painting is carefully drawn to entice the sight and showcase a flawless immersion of 3D scenes with 2D paintings. The drawings tell a particular story of Penang, staying true to the museum’s aim to let visitors be a part of history. Among the most popular paintings are legendary actor Tan Sri P.Ramlee, Spiderman dangling upside-down from a building and the romantic marriage proposal wall that pays homage to Love Lane.
Next point of interest that is a big hit with the kids is the augmented reality display kiosks. To make images appear on the screen, simply ‘scan’ the stub of your entrance ticket at the receiving sensor,and a 3D projection of Penang landmarks will appear ‘magically’ on the screen. Other kiosks provide a visual projection on the screen when one stand close to it, such as a colourful Sichuan opera mask.
Lastly, don’t forget to pay a visit to the museum’s Theatre Room that shows a short brilliantly-animated documentary on the history of Penang. The shows are translated to three languages, Tamil,Chinese and English to cater to Malaysia’s melting pot of cultures.
Overall, MIPIM is a must-see site of the island, Not only it is interactive and provides a lot of fun for the whole family, the museum can be a great source of research for visitors who value the rich cultural heritage of Penang.
Address: No. 3 Pengkalan Weld, 10300 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours : Daily 9 am â€“ 6 pm.
Admission Fee : Adults RM 15 (with Mykad), Children RM 10 (with Mykad), Adults RM 30 (without Mykad).
Tel : 04 2626 119
Text: SARA KHALID