Dato’ Dr. Adi Taha, former Director General of the Department of Museums Malaysia, died from cancer at his house in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur on 4 February 2012.
Dr. Adi joined the National Museum as a curator of archaeology in 1975 after graduating from the National University Malaysia with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology. In 1981, Dr. Adi enrolled at the Australian National University, Canberra, for his Masters and later obtained his Doctor of Philosophy from the same university in 2001.
During his tenure with the Department of Museums Malaysia, Dr. Adi had held several positions before culminating in the position of Director General in 2002, a position he held until his mandatory retirement in 2007. Dr. Adi pioneered museum work and research on prehistoric human artifacts, the Bujang Valley civilization and the establishment of new museums in Malaysia and several block buster exhibitions. He was also instrumental in initiating and supporting the establishment of the Museum Volunteers programme at Muzium Negara in 2006, which led to its official launch in April 2007, when some 20 docents graduated from the first training programme.
During his tenure with the museum department, Dr. Adi attended many general conferences and assemblies of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and presented papers at international seminars and workshops abroad and locally. Among his social and professional involvements were; Vice President of the Association of Malaysian Archaeologists (1997), President of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (2002-2004) and President of ICOM Malaysia (2002 – 2010)
Although retired, Dr. Adi’s zeal and passion for the museum did not falter. He joined University Malaysia Kelantan as a principal fellow in the Faculty of Creative Technology & Heritage and continued to contribute to the field of museology and culture. His expertise on museums and archaeology was often sought by museum’s curators, academicians and individuals. Dr Adi also wrote several books and articles on the prehistory of Malaysia.
Born on Aug 3, 1951 in Kodiang, Kedah, Dr Adi died age 60 and leaves behind his wife, Wan Aminah Wan Yusof and six children. We will miss our eminent and affable curator Dato’ Dr. Adi Taha.
Adapted from an obituary written by Janet Tee Siew Mooi, Director of the National Textile Museum