Jakarta houses a plethora of museums covering a wide variety of themes. Some focus on topics specific to Indonesia– its culture, nature and history–while others cover more general and wide-reaching subject matters. In addition to the historical, fine arts, maritime and military museums, there are museums for everything from stamp to transportation to science and technology.
National Museum (Gedung Gajah)
Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No. 12, Central Jakarta (Tel. 3812346, 3868172). Popularly known as Gedung Gajah (Elephant Building) due to the landmark bronze elephant given by King Chulalongkorn of Thailand in 1871 that stands on its front, National Museum is the biggest Indonesian museum and one of the finest cultural institutions in Southeast Asia. It has in its possession over 150,000 works of exquisite art, both of Indonesian and foreign origin, covering more than 4,000 years of Indonesian cultural heritage. Its rich holdings of various creative traditions and disciplines represent a unity amidst diversity, an unmatched blend of the past with the present and strong perspective for the future, bringing history to life.
Established in 1778, the museum offers historical, prehistorical, archaeological and ethnographic aspects of Indonesia through its extensive collections of artifacts and relics that date as far back as the Stone Age. It also has a vast collection of musical instruments, traditional ethnic costumes, household utensils, arts, crafts and scaled-down models of traditional architectures that provide an introduction to the life of the various ethnic groups in Indonesia. Its collections of bronzes and ceramics from the Han, Tang and Ming Dynasties are most complete. Its religious art section is filled with artifacts and sculptures salvaged from various sites of Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic heritages.
- Tuesday to Thursday, Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Free English Language Tours: Tuesday, Thursday at 9:30 a.m, 2nd Saturday and last Sunday of month at 10:30 a.m.
The Puppet Museum (Museum Wayang)
Taman Fatahillah, Jalan Pintu Besar Utara 27, West Jakarta (Tel. 6929560). The finest displays of exclusive Javanese leather puppets known as wayang kulit are shown in this museum. There are also leather and wooden puppets from all parts of Indonesia and other countries in Asia. Shortened performances of wayang kulit are staged every Sunday morning as special attractions for visitors.
Formerly the Museum of Old Batavia, the building still holds vestiges of its former collection, including memorials to Dutch officials.
- Tuesday to Thursday, Sunday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Friday: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m
- Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Jakarta History Museum (Museum Fatahillah)
Taman Fatahillah, Jalan Pintu Besar Utara 27, West Jakarta(Tel. 6929101). Jakarta History Museum is home to an extensive collection of materials and artifacts pertaining to Jakarta’s history. It displays collections of furnishings and portraits originating from the 18th century, many of which were owned by former colonial governors in Jakarta. Other exhibits include colonial weaponry and furniture, inscriptions from the era of King Purnawarman, and Dutch maps from the 16th century.
- Tuesday to Thursday, Sunday : 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Fine Arts and Ceramics Museum (Balai Seni Rupa)
Taman Fatahillah, Jalan Pintu Besar Utara 27, West Jakarta (Tel. 6907062). This museum has around 400 fine artworks, comprising of many different techniques and materials, including sculpture, graphic, wood totem, sketch, and batik painting. It is home to a vast collection of Indonesian paintings from 1800′s to the present day, including works by masters such as Raden Saleh, S. Sudjojono and Affandi.
The ceramic and porcelain section of the museum features an extensive collection of contemporary and historic wares from Indonesia and abroad, including a big vase from the 20th century Europe, Chinese jug from Ming Dynasty and water jar from the Ching Dynasty .
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.