With sorrow, we mark the death of Dato Dr. Adi Taha


First MV Graduation 2007

Dato' Dr. Adi Taha with the first graduates of the Museum Volunteers Programme April 2007

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.
2007 first graduation

Dato' Dr. Adi Taha presenting Marie Tseng with her graduation certificate April 2007

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

Thanks for coming to the Museum Volunteers website


A big welcome from the Museum Volunteers here in Malaysia

Our goal as Museum Volunteers (MV) is to promote public awareness of museums, and we aim to build an appreciation and understanding of the histories and cultures of Malaysia.

We are a non-profit, non-political and non-religious group open to all who undertake our training programme and graduate as a docent (museum guide.)  We are all volunteers and we are hosted by the Museums Department in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

*We provide free guided tours of the Muzium Negara (National Museum) and the Muzium Textil (Textiles Museum) in Kuala Lumpur. Our main language of operation is English, but we also have regular tours in in English, French, Japanese, Malay and Chinese. Guided tours in Dutch, German, Danish, Spanish, Russian and Polish are also available upon request.

*We run custom-tailored tours for schools, embassies and companies.

*We also run a series of focus activities around Kuala Lumpur for our members,  involving visits to other museums and talks from visiting academics and others with expertise in the histories of Southeast Asia.

On this site you will find lots of information about our set up, history and training programme. If you would like to know about our day-to-day activites, please check out our page on Facebook.

For further details, please email mvmqueries@yahoo.com

Heritage Walking Tour of KL December 11, 2010


MV Batch 12’s Heritage Walk on Saturday 11 December 2010

By Kon Cze Yan

It was an end of term treat for Batch 12.  An outing instead of another classroom lecture. The day began quite badly with the closure of Dataran Merdeka to traffic because of a 1Malaysia Run and traffic diversions because of demonstrations regarding Selangor’s water problems. The organiser (me!) was late from trying all possible routes to enter the Royal Selangor Club. Luckily all the other 13 participants turned up fairly punctually around 8.30am. They cleverly came by public transport or parked away from Dataran Merdeka.

Our guide for the 1.5 hour walk was the most knowledgeable Lee Choo Sim. Choo Sim took us from Dataran Merdeka to “Kuala Lumpur” to Medan Pasar. At the Dataran, he regaled us with numerous stories about the buildings around Dataran Merdeka & how life was during colonial times. He gave us little snippets of some interesting characters – who had an affair with whom & who was in love with whom! When we moved on to the river area where the Gombak & Klang Rivers meet, Choo Sim pointed out a few obscure facts like the meaning of Kuala Lumpur, which was the Klang & which was the Gombak River(!) & that the river had a little family of otters. Things started getting steamy in Medan Pasar with stories of drugs/opium dens and sex/brothels. Luckily by then it was time to cool off at the historic Royal Selangor Club.

The Royal Selangor Club (RSC) was established in 1884 – 126 years ago. It was founded by J.P. Rodger, Resident of Selangor, A.R. Venning, Selangor Treasurer, Captain Charles Syers, Commissioner of the Selangor Police,  H.F. Bellamy, Superintendent of the Selangor Public Works Department & K. Thamboosamy Pillai, businessman. It was the social hub of KL during colonial times and almost every big event would be held there.

The MV members had tea, coffee and sandwiches next to the famous Long Bar, the bar which is still off limits to women. Chrissy Lioe, husband & son joined us for refreshments. They had just returned from India. Ismail of the RSC then took us for a short tour of the Club’s premises which was rather like a pub crawl – nearly every room in the Club has a bar!

MV members who attended:

Kon Cze Yan

Karen Loh

Chrissy Lioe

Bahyah Mohd Noor

Chris Clifton

Dany Picot

Jaleh Chegini

Joseph Arputhaswamy

Justin Lai Lye Kim

Low Mei May

Magan Karapal

Stuart Wakefield

Sudha Nair

Lee Ah Chai

FOCUS back with added strength!

I hope you have noticed that our FOCUS meetings are back with added interest. Please check our yahoo! group for details and how to sign up.

Thank you to Kokkie who has so far organized

Oct 4, 2010 Treasures of the World: Jewelled Arts of India

Nov 15, 2010 Human Skeletal Material

Nov 29, 2010 Chinese temples and deities

Jan 27, 2011 Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan

Coming up we have

March 1, 2011 Malaysian jungle

March 12, 2011 Science and Innovation in the Islamic World

New MV Committee 2011


Here is the line up of our new MV committee, who will take “office” at the start of March 2011 for a two-year term. The MV committee is chosen through a nomination and discussion process that is run by the old committee. You will remember that the MV committee called for nominations back in October 2010, and is delighted to have this line up of existing and new members on the MV committee.

MV Committee 2011

  • President                   Karen Loh (Batch 2)
  • Vice President          Laurence Maille (Batch 10)
  • Secretary                    Stuart Wakefield (Batch 10)
  • Treasurer                    Kon Cze Yan (Batch 3)
  • Training
  • Angela Naylor (Batch 1) – Textile Muzium
  • Cindy Bell (Batch 10) – Muzium Negara (weekday)
  • Jo Thesiger (Batch 10)  – Muzium Negara (weekday)
  • Susan Haveman (Batch 10) – Muzium Negara (weekday)
  • Kon Cze Yan (Batch 3) – Muzium Negara (weekend)
  • Publicity                    Lorien Holland (Batch 2) & Chris Lee (Batch 10)
  • Schools                      Cay Maru (Batch 2)  & Karen Loh (Batch 2)
  • Library                       Chrissy Lioe (Batch 2) & Zahara Shahriman (Batch 1)
  • French Liaison        Elisabeth Clouzeau (Batch 6)
  • Japanese Liaison    Ayako Ohno (Batch 8)
  • Focus                           Kokkie Pauuw (Batch 2)

ANY QUERIES OR ISSUES, EMAIL OUR PRESIDENT at karenllc @ yahoo.com  OR OUR GENERAL QUERIES at mvmqueries @ yahoo.com

(when you type in the email address, you need to take out the spaces on each side of the @, which are there to stop spam)


Happy MVM-ing!

Dates for MV introduction coffee morning

We have fixed the dates for our “Introduction to MV” coffee mornings for this year. These explain the MV to potential trainees, and are useful for recruitment to our MV training programme, which will start in the second half of September 2011

MV Introduction Mornings -MV Room, Muzium Negara
Tuesday 24 May 2011 at 10am
Thursday 8 September 2011 at 10am
Saturday 10 September 2011 at 10am

For more details please click on the Training Programme Tag at the top of this page

Regards Croises

Jeudi 21 Avril 2011

« Et si Kuala Lumpur vous était racontée ! » By KL boy and Architect, A. Najib Ariffin
Même si KL est une ville jeune, elle a en son sein une multitude de petites histoires avec ses faits réels mais aussi ses idées reçues. Surprenante KL, car elle n’aurait jamais dû devenir ce qu’elle est aujourd’hui. Maladies tropicales, guerre civile … ont stoppé sa croissance à sa naissance. Mais KL l’incroyable est devenue peu à peu une ville internationale, développée et si agréable à vivre. Il y a tant de choses à découvrir sur l’histoire de Kuala Lumpur…
Et Najib est heureux de venir partager avec nous l’histoire de KL, vue de l’intérieur.

Horaire : 9h30 café offert par le musée puis conférence de 10h a midi.

 Rendez-vous : Musee Negara, Kuala Lumpur,

Participation : 5 rm (prix d’entree du Musee)

Renseignements et inscriptions : Mélanie et Brigitte : regards.croises@hotmail.fr

Farquhar’s Melaka collection of drawings is published

I was just in Singapore and the National Museum of Singapore has published a fabulous book  entitled “Natural History Drawings, the complete William Farquhar Collection.” For the first time ever, the 477 drawings of the flora and fauna of the Malay Peninsula commissioned by William Farquhar when he was the British Resident and Commandant of Melaka from 1803 to 1818, have been published in one volume.

In 1826, these drawings were donated by Farquhar to the Royal Asiatic Society in London, which then auctioned them for sale in 1993. A Singaporean, Mr Goh Geok Khim, purchased them and then presented the full set of drawings to Singapore’s National Heritage Board in 1996.

Day trip to Ipoh

Day trip to Ipoh by Marie Tseng

Right before Hayley Holle’s departure for England in August, a small group of MV members set off on a day trip to Ipoh -  Seeting, Diane, Hayley and myself.

Our trip started in Kelly’s Castle where we were warmly welcomed by the curator/guard of the castle.  The unfinished castle has been recently restored to enable visitors to visit safely almost every accessible part of the building.From the roof, you have a great view of the surrounding plantations. We continued on with a visit to the last tin dredge in Malyasia.   Having seen the real dredge will definitely enhance our guided tours at the Muzium Negara. Next stop was Batu Gajah, a colonial town that has kept most of its original buildings and a has a very interesting cemetery.  After a quick lunch of  fresh river prawns, we ended the day by a 3 hour walk in Ipoh.

I would highly recommend this easy trip to all guides.  Vera recommended us a great heritage Guide in Ipoh, Mr  Law Siak Hong  (siakhongstudio@yahoo.com) who met us in Kelly’s castle and took us on a very informative tour of Batu Gajah and Ipoh.

Farewell Lunch June 2010

On June 24, we had a thank you and farewell lunch to several MV volunteers who were leaving Malaysia for other countries. In particular Hayley Holle, who has done so much with the schools programme and been a very active member of MV, and also Alison Fletcher and Marie Bouis who have also been very active.

Our deputy president, Zahara Shariman, most generously hosted lunch at her mother’s house and we ate delicious Malay food.

Both MV President Chrissy Lioe and MV Training Programme Organizer Angela Naylor spoke about the great works that have been achieved so far. The leavers got Malay betel siri sets from the East coast.