Malaysia has been the site of Southeast Asia’s largest museum of Islamic art since 1998. Situated amidst the leafy surroundings of central Kuala Lumpur’s Lake Gardens, the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) building itself covers 30,000 square metres and houses more than seven thousand artefacts, as well as an outstanding library of Islamic-art books.
The art objects on display range from the small jewellery pieces to one of the world’s largest scale models of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The museum’s vision is to create a collection that is truly representative of the Islamic world. As a result, instead of concentrating on works from the heartlands of Persia and the Middle East, the IAMM also emphasises China, India and Southeast Asia. Other parts of the collection are divided into 12 categories rather than geographical origins.
The Islamic Arts Museum’s permanent galleries are classified by artifact material or field of study and include:
• Quran & Manuscript
• Malay World
• Arms & Armour
• Coins & Seals
• Living with Wood
Throughout the year, the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia plays host to various events and projects. Notable exhibitions in the past include the Ann Dunham Collection of Indonesian Batik (featuring items from President Barack Obama’s mother’s personal collection), Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum (the first time the collection was shown in Southeast Asia), and Jewelled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals (the most extravagant display of historic jewellery ever seen in the country).
The museum is also home to an education department that encourages the sharing of ideas through its activities, programmes and resources for visitors of all ages. Featured programmes include guided tours, children’s activities, object handling sessions, workshops, talks and seminars.
As an educator and custodian of Islamic art and crafts for present and future generations, the IAMM views the conservation, restoration and preservation of artefacts as an essential part of its mission. Due to time and environmental factors, the IAMM has made a concerted effort to preserve Islamic heritage.
The Conservation Department provides preservation and protective services for the museum’s artefacts. Through research and training, the IAMM Conservation Department also works towards furthering knowledge in order to develop current preservation techniques for Islamic art.
In line with the Islamic Arts Museum’s commitment to the preserving and circulating of knowledge, the production of publications plays a key role in the process. By 2006 the museum had published 16 books, covering a wide range of topics. While most of these publications were catalogues of exhibitions, books of a more general nature are currently being produced. The aim is to support the work of the museum as well as enhance visitor enjoyment.
IAMM also houses a restaurant that is not restricted to just entertainment and dining events, but is also available for seminars and workshops.
• Opening Hours
Mondays to Sundays: 10am – 6pm
Public Holidays: 10am – 6pm
• Museum Restaurant
Tuesdays to Sundays (Closed on Mondays): 10am – 6pm
• Museum Admission Costs
- Adults: RM12.00
- Students (with ID): RM6.00
- Senior Citizens (Malaysian 55 and over): RM6.00
- Children (6 and under): FREE
Tickets are charged at RM10 & RM5 respectively when the Special Galleries are closed.
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