A Guide to Popular Museums in and Around Jakarta

Located on the Northwest coast of the island of Java, Jakarta is the beautiful capital city of Indonesia. A former trading port of the Kingdom of Sunda, the city is known for its long, rich history and diverse culture.

Jakarta

Preserving a major chunk of Portuguese and Dutch colonial history, Jakarta is home to numerous museums and cultural sites. For those of you willing to learn more, here is a list of popular museums in and around the city.

National Museum of Indonesia

Located in central Jakarta, National Museum of Indonesia is one prominent attraction in the city. Also known as the ‘Elephant Museum’, the museum is known for honouring Indonesia’s history and heritage for over two centuries. Officially opened in 1778, the museum today features a collection of over 61,000 anthropological artefacts and over 5000 artefacts dating back to the early colonial period. Hindu Buddhist sculptures, inscriptions, ceramics and other relics are among the popular collectables here. Skeletons of Homo sapiens and tools used by them are displayed at the museum.  Excursions to the museum are organised from different parts of the city.

Maritime Museum

Situated in the old Sunda Kelapa harbour area, Maritime Museum is another famous museum of Indonesia. Established in 1977, it originally served as a warehouse for the Dutch East India Company. Today, the structure is known for displaying models of fishing boats and other maritime objects dating back to the colonial era. Ship models and cannons used by the Dutch, Indonesian Navy maps, and pictures of voyages taken up by famous personalities are among the few collectables displayed at the museum. Although exhibitions and workshops are not regularly organised but a small stroll around the site helps tourists understand the maritime history of Indonesia.

Bank Mandiri Museum

Located in the Old Town, Bank Mandiri Museum is a famous economic museum in Jakarta.  Established in 1998 by Bank Mandiri, the preservatory is known for featuring a collection of banking items dating back to the early colonial period. Popular collectables at the museum include old currency notes, accounting machines, bond documents, cheques, security documents, coins, safes and cash counters. Some of the old stocks documents are also put on display.

Jakarta History Museum

Popularly known as ‘Fatahillah Museum’ or ‘Batavia Museum’, Jakarta National Museum is one of the oldest museums in the city. Located in the Old town, it is known for featuring objects and items dating back to the early 16th century. Built in 1710, the museum today has a collection of over 23000 objects and other historical artefacts. Maps, paintings, sculptures, furniture and ceramics are among the popular collectables at the preservatory.  The replica of Tugu inscription is the prized possession of the museum.

Wayang Museum

Dedicated to puppetry, Wayang Museum is a famous museum in Jakarta. Originally built in 1640, it is known for featuring a wide collection of numerous wayang from countries like Thailand, China, Vietnam, France and India. Wayang kulit, wayang golek, sculptures, gamelan sets and paintings are among the popular items displayed at the museum. The plate marking the tombstone of Jan Pieterszoon Coen and Budaixi puppet are the most valued collectables here.