The many monuments and museums, large and small which are
found throughout this country offer together virtually the whole
spectrum of Indonesian life, thought and history, beginning
from the time of the earliest inhabitation and even before, up to
The best known, and also the oldest in existence of the museum of
art, culture and history is the Central Museum in Jakarta.
Museums of natural history are found in Bogor
and Bandung. Of equal scientific interest, though small
in size, is the Sangiranmuseum of paleontology and anthropology.
Jakarta's Central Museum is reputedly one of the finest in Southeast
Asia. Founded in 1788, it still has the world's most complete collection
of Indonesian artifacts. Its Hindu-Javanese collection rivals that
of the Leiden Museum in Holland, reputedly the finest in the world.
It has one the richest collections of Han, Tang and Ming porcelain
and an array of Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese export ceramics
Its numismatic collection includes rare specimens of cloth-money
used in the past in various areas of Indonesia. Adjacent to the
museum is the National Library with over 700,000 old and recent
volumes of books, manuscripts and periodicals covering virtually
every subject on Indonesian. located at JI. Merdeka Barat 12, Jakarta.
Small museum in this village, 15 km from Solo, displays prehistoric
fossils found in the area. This area along the Solo river is an
outcropping of the earth's old strata which have in the past yielded
many major finds. Among them were the remains of "solo Man"
(Homo Soloensis), one of the earliest hominid fossils known.
The fossilized remains of the earliest inhabitants of Java found
so far, the "Java Man" or Pithecanthropus erectus, were
found in 1881 by the Dutchman Dr. Eugene Dubois near the village
of Trinil in East Java. The find has since been succeeded by several
others. The Directorate of National Heritage and Historical Values
of the Department of Education and Culture is in charge of the supervision
of the site management.
This open-air museum of Old Batavia, now called Jakarta, Taman Fatahillah
(Fatahillah Square) has three main establishments standing on the
south, east and west of the cobblestone square proper. The first
is the Jakarta Museum which exhibits the colonial history of the
city by also includes relics from the pre-colonial past. The edifice
on the east, formerly the Supreme Court, houses the Fine Arts Gallery
and the Ceramics Museum containing, among others, the excellent
Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics collection donated by the late
former Vice President Adam Malik. On the western
side of the square is the Wayang Museum, filled with all sorts of
puppets used in the indigenous puppet theatre. The largest part
of the collection consists of wayang kulit flat leather puppets
of various types from various regions. Demonstrations of the shadow
play, lasting two hours, are given every Sunday morning.
At the northern end of Jakarta, in the old Sunda Kelapa harbour
area, is the Maritime Museum with exhibits displayed inside the
old Dutch East India Company warehouses. In small scale models and
pictures, the museum attempts to give the visitor an idea of Indonesia's
seafaring tradition and the importance of the sea to the economy
of present-day Indonesia. The museum has models of fishing boats
from most parts of Indonesia, stone anchors used in some areas,
modern steamers and also the celebrated Pinisi schooners of the
Bugis people of South Sulawesi which at present make up one of the
last sea-going sailing fleets in the world. Located at JI. Pasar
Ikan, Phone: 6693406 Jakarta.
The 137-metre tall monument with the gold flame on top facing the
Presidential Palace in Jakarta symbolizes the nation's independence.
The basement of the monument houses a Museum of History with dioramas
depicting the history of Indonesia from prehistoric times up to
the present. A good portion of it is devoted to the national war
for independence waged from 1945 to December 1949. Not part of the
museum but located similarly at the foot of the National Monument
is the Hall of Silence, Indonesia's first President, Soekarno, can
be heard. Located at Jalan Silang Monas Jakarta.
Located in the southern part of Jakarta, is the Satria Mandala Museum,
or Armed Forces Museum. This museum has an interesting collection
of arms, including Japanese fighter planes of World War II vintage,
Russian and American guns and armoured cars. Dioramas give the visitor
an insight regarding the role of the Indonesian Armed Services in
this country. Located at Jalan Jend. Gatot Subroto, Jakarta.
The Textile Museum on Jalan Sasuit Tubun in Jakarta, a many times
renovated 19th century mansion, houses a collection of about 600
different kinds of traditional Indonesian textiles, from batik to
ikat and Dayak bark cloths. Weaving was and often still is closely
connected with religious practice In many regions such textiles
are still user to pay fines, avert illness or for other social and
religious purposes. Some of the oldest Indonesian ornamental designs
arc found in their original textiles.
Inside the Taman Mini is the Museum Indonesia a three storey edifice
in traditional Balinese architecture. The museum houses a vast collection
of Indonesian contemporary arts and crafts, traditional costumes
from the various regions, puppets, musical instruments, masks, and
a large variety of utensils and equipment used in daily life Mannequins
and mock-ups display the various rituals concerned with the passage
This museum facing the Kraton (Sultan's palace) in Yogyakarta was
founded in 1935 and built in traditional Javanese architecture.
Its fine collection includes weapons, leather and wooden wayang
puppets, masks, statues, textiles, curiosa and old Javanese gamelan
instruments. A library is attached. Located at Jalan Trikora 2 Yogyakarta.
The Radjapustoko Museum is located next to the Sriwedari amusement
park in Solo and has a miscellaneous by interesting collection of
art objects and mementoes from Java's past.
Located at JI. Slamet Riyadi 234 Solo, Central Java.
The Zoological Museum in Bogor has a vast collection of preserved
species of Indonesian fauna, from birds and reptiles to mammals
and conchs, most of it displayed in lifelike dioramas. The museum
has a library on the Indonesian fauna as well.
Another museum of natural history is the Geological Museum in Bandung
with an annexed library. Part of the Geological Service of Indonesia,
it was founded in 1929 and has collection of fossils, rocks, minerals,
volcano models, maps, maquetes etc. The fossilized skull of Pithecanthropus
erectus, the celebrated prehistoric "Java Man" is kept
Monuments and Museums
Museums of local culture and history are found in many provincial
capitals and towns, among others the Bukittinggi Museum in West
Sumatera, the Makkasar Museum in the former Fort Rotterdam at Ujung
Pandang, South Sulawesi and the Simalungun Museum at Pematang Siantar,