BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Brunei Museum will reopen its doors by the end of 2020, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports has confirmed.

The national museum — which marks its 48th anniversary in 2020 — has been closed since 2014 due to a severe termite infestation.

MCYS Minister YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin said the museum has been undergoing repairs to ensure the building will be “structurally sound for visitors”.

“At the moment, we are looking into conceptualising the exhibits that are within the Brunei Museum. There will be changes of course, we want the exhibits to reflect Brunei according to the times, to our current environment,” he told The Scoop in a recent interview.

budget for upgrading the museum has been allocated under the 11th National Development Plan, but the amount has not been publicly disclosed.

The minister said while the main exhibits and interior of the building will be remodelled, the ministry wants to preserve the architectural heritage of the original structure.

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Opened in 1972 by Queen Elizabeth II, the museum is a piece of Bruneian history, he added, and should be acknowledged as a heritage building.

Acting Director of Culture and Arts, Mohd Abdoh Damit, said the ministry wants to firmly establish the Brunei Museum as a national museum.

“The concept for the new exhibits is to show visitors snippets of life in Brunei Darussalam then and now, with evidence from archeology, history and ethnography.”

Giving few details the director said the museum’s exhibits will be “different”, with curators adopting a new approach by including more interactivity and incorporating modern technology.

The museum will also house one “open concept” gallery, which will host guest exhibitions from local or international curators.

Mohd Abdoh added they want to ensure the Brunei Museum’s exhibits will complement, and not overlap with, other local museums and galleries.

He added that MCYS is also working with the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism to create museum packages for tourists.

“In the mean time, we want to encourage residents to experience the other museums that the country has, to not just seek knowledge form archaeological evidence, but also written evidence, like the old manuscripts and folklore that can be found in the Brunei History Centre Gallery”.