For All Flora And Fauna

17 May 2016

The Natural History Museum in Putrajaya will remind you of the rich resources Malaysia has been blessed with, and urge you to take conservation more seriously.

If you weren’t living in Putrajaya, you may not be aware that there’s a Natural History Museum there that’s worth taking a trip to. Yes, you read that right, Malaysia has a museum dedicated to our local flora and fauna - which makes sense, since we have such a diverse ecosystem throughout the country.

But what sets the Natural History Museum apart from other museums out there?

“This museum is dedicated to showcasing and presenting the various species of flora and fauna as well as geological resources of the country,” explains Pn Farizawati Sabri, the Natural History Museum director. “Most of the exhibits showcased consist of animals and plants that have been preserved, alongside numerous replicas of natural resources and minerals.”

Bearing in mind that the rapid rate of development that Malaysia has undergone throughout the years obviously has left an impact on the environment, the Natural History Museum seeks to highlight the need to preserve and conserve all that we still have.

Pn Farizawati shares that “among the many interesting items shown in this museum include a preserved Sumatran Rhino which, as we are all well aware, is an extremely endangered species that reside in the jungles of this country.”

“The Natural History Museum is also showcasing the Sun Bear, which is the single species of bears that can be found in Malaysia,” highlights Pn Farizawati. As many may or may not know, the Sun Bear is fully protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, since its numbers in the wild have dwindled tremendously over the years - a reminder that development which goes unchecked wreaks havoc on the environment in serious and lasting ways.

This begs the question: are Malaysians aware of the role and function of museums like the Natural History Museum?

Pn Farizawati believes so. “Malaysians do understand, and we can see this in the encouraging numbers of people, especially those who live in this area (in Putrajaya) who attend and participate in the various activities organised by the museum.”

But awareness alone may not be enough to change habits and mindsets. “I feel that more can be done to encourage even more Malaysians to visit museums.”

By coming to museums like the Natural History Museum, Pn Farizawati hopes that more Malaysians will participate in programs that will slowly bring about a shift in the way we think and consider our environment.

“The awareness on the importance of the environment is increasing amongst Malaysians,” she says. “The Natural History Museum focuses on highlighting the natural resources available in our country; we constantly plan and conduct activities such as exhibitions and outreach programs that invite the people to experience and appreciate what we still have today, in order to preserve the environment for future generations.

“The Natural History Museum’s ongoing exhibition, NYAWA: Bird, for example, invites people to think and realise how important birds are to humankind,” Pn Farizawati continues. “Without birds as pollination agents, how would we be able to experience all the types of fruits that God has made, or all the types of plant species that populate this earth?”

The museum, which regularly sees students and groups come in for guided tours, has numerous on-going and upcoming exhibitions. The tours are an important and popular aspect of the museum, and links directly to the more educational aspect of the museum experience.

The Natural History Museum also regularly puts up new material to keep museum-goers interested.

“In 2016, the Natural History Museum will be planning two temporary exhibitions, namely Pameran Kerangan Laut: Perhiasan Lautan (Sea Shell Exhibition: Treasures of the Seas) and Pameran Skeleton (Skeleton Exhibition),” Pn Farizawati elaborates. “Apart from that, the museum is also planning a Night At The Museum: Young Botanists program as well as several other outreach programs throughout the rest of the year.”

This Night At The Museum concept, which can also be seen in the programming of other museums in the region including in Singapore, is increasingly popular especially with schools. It presents the opportunity to view exhibitions and conduct activities in a totally new, night-time environment even if participants have been to the museum itself several times.

From time to time, Natural History Museum seeks out new working relationships with other bodies - especially universities and other institutions - to come up with new attractions. Most recently, it worked with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) to put together the aforementioned exhibition.

“The Natural History Museum is constantly surveying possible collaborations with various external agencies and institutions to come up with new activities and exhibitions,” explains Pn Farizawati, and that these themes and concepts which should be in line with the aims and objectives of the museum.

Head on over to the Natural History Museum today:
Natural History Museum
Address: Jalan Diplomatik, Presint 15, Putrajaya
Tel: 03-8890 2884

By Burhanuddin Usman

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