Monday, August 4, 2014

Ma family receives ministry help to set up museum

Family legacy: Tan (right) with her daughter-in-law Carol Chew
going through books at her home in Peel Avenue.

GEORGE TOWN: The Tourism and Culture Ministry has agreed to work with the state government to help the Ma family set up a museum that will house over 1,000 colonial era artefacts. And, that includes a handwritten document of founder Captain Francis Light.
“I am overwhelmed by the family’s collection,” said Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz. “We must do everything in our means to ensure that these national treasures do not leave the shores of Malaysia.
“The items must be protected,” he said after visiting the family home in Peel Avenue here yesterday. “The public should be given a chance to view the collection.”
Directors-general and curators from both the Malaysia Museums and the Heritage Departments, he said, would be sent to meet the Ma family.
Nazri said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng informed him that the state government was helping the family by leasing a bungalow in Jalan D.S. Ramanathan that would be turned into a colonial museum. “I propose building an extension to the building if the premises isn’t big enough to display the collection,” he said.
Earlier, Lim presented a letter from the state secretary’s office to the family, giving them the right to use “Penang” as part of the museum’s name. “The museum shall be named Colonial Penang Museum,” said Lim, adding that the application, filed by Jasmine Tan, 67, on June 23, was approved at a state council meeting on July 24.
Tan is the mother of businessman and collector Eric Ma, 46, who said the artefacts had been with the family for three generations. “We also have some Peranakan artefacts,” Eric said. “These are kept in our three family homes.”
Besides the handwritten document, dated July 28, 1794, over land on Prince of Wales Island — as Penang Island was then known as — there are German dolls, antique chandeliers, stone pillars and a Peranakan dressing table. The museum is scheduled to open in November.
-thestar online.

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