Timothy Tye
Penang State Museum @ Macalister

Museum at Macalister, George Town, PenangMuseum at Macalister, George Town, Penang (17 April, 2011)

Penang State Museum @ Macalister (GPS: 5.415195, 100.325525) is the premises of the Penang State Museum along Macalister Road in George Town, Penang. It occupies the ensemble of buildings that was originally the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

The decision to expand the Penang State Museum was taken by the Penang Island Municipal Council Board of Trustees on 18 September, 2010, just as the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital building became available. Now that parts of George Town have been inscribed as a World Heritage Site, the museum considers it vital to instill and nurture an appreciation for the arts and for local cultural heritage.

Museum at Macalister BuildingMuseum at Macalister Building (17 April, 2011)

The Museum at Macalister began operating in April 2011, to coincide with the 46th anniversary of the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery, which was celebrated from 14-17 April. Although the Penang State Museum continues to function at Farquhar Street, the availability of more room at Macalister Road has enabled the museum to further showcase the wealth of Penang heritage.

A State Museum Research Centre has been set up at Museum at Macalister. The research centre pools together material on the history, art and culture pertaining to Malaysia and particularly to Penang. Also archived at the research centre are newspaper clippings, research reports, working papers and other material.

Exhibits at Museum at MacalisterExhibits at Museum at Macalister (17 April, 2011)

The Penang State Museum is particularly keen to use the exhibition halls at Museum at Macalister to showcase Penang's contribution to performing arts. Since February 2013, it began an exhibition entitled "Penang's Popular Music of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s".

"Penang's Popular Music of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s" was opened on 16 February by His Excellency the Governor of Penang, Dato' Seri Utama (Dr.) Haji Abdul Rahman. It celebrates various local entertainers including our own music legend, P. Ramlee to famous musicians of yesteryear, among them Jimmy Boyle, Ooi Eow Jin, Robert Tan and Joe Rozells.

The history of broadcasting is presented here, from Radio Malaysia Penang to Redifussion, with particular emphasis placed on development of the studios in Penang. Visitors also get a glimpse into amateur broadcasting, in the form of the Wireless Society established in 1925. Also on display at the exhibition are jukeboxes, musical instruments (the traditional and the vintage), grammaphones, record players, even radio transistors.

P. Ramlee, Museum at MacalisterAt home with P. Ramlee, Museum at Macalister (12 March, 2011)

Jimmy Boyle pianoCardboard copy of life-size Jimmy Boyle immortalized on his piano (12 March, 2011)

Street Art of Museum at Macalister

With street art becoming the next big thing in Penang, the Museum at Macalister has jumped on the bandwagon. In conjunction with its exhibition, "Penang's Popular Music of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s", the museum puts up a mural that celebrates the glamour of the 1950s with a beach scene, complete with sand. Visitors are encouraged to have their photo taken cut the yellow sportcars. Props such as sunglasses and scarves are also provided.

Museum at Macalister Street ArtIt's a day at the beach for Tim-the-Traveler, courtesy of the Museum at Macalister (12 March, 2011)

Opening Hours

Museum at Macalister is open Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 am in the morning to 5:00 pm in the evening. The museum is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Admission is presently free.


57 Macalister Road
10400 George Town, Penang

Selected Exhibits at the Museum @ Macalister

Getting there

The museum is near enough from Komtar Bus Terminal that it is possible to walk there. Alternatively, you can also take Rapid Penang bus 101, 102, 103, 104 and 304.

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