Located in downtown Palembang, right beside the iconic Ampera Bridge, the museum has a collection of more than 368 historical artifacts ranging from archaeology, ethnography, biology, ceramics, fine arts and numismatics (the study or collection of currencies).
It is home to numerous remnants of ancient times, including the Ganesha Amarawati, several Buddha statues, and others from the time of the Sriwijaya kingdom one millennia ago.
The building, along with the nearby Palembang Grand Mosque, was built during the reign of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin Jayo Wikramo (locally known as Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin I) in the 18th century. Back then, the building was named Keraton Kuto Kecik (Kuto Kecik Palace) or Keraton Kuto Lamo and served as the residence of the sultanate’s royal family.
When the Dutch invaded Palembang in around 1820, during the reign of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II (Mahmud Badaruddin I’s son), the royal family was captured. The sultan was then exiled to Ternate in Maluku, where he spent his remaining life until his death in 1852.
Meanwhile, with the Sultan gone, hundreds of Dutch troops ransacked Palembang, wrecking and burning all buildings as they went, including the much-revered keraton. When the Dutch decided to reconstruct the buildings in 1823, they established a home for the Dutch governor general at the site of the old palace.
In the 180 years since, the building has been involved in many historical events. As the World War II raged in the Pacific and reverberated throughout Southeast Asia, Japanese troops established a military base at the building.
After the declaration of Independence in 1945, the building once served as a regional base for the country’s Sriwijaya Military District Command (Kodam II Sriwijaya), before it was finally handed over to the Palembang city administration and turned into the museum that still stands today.
Heritage: The Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum located on Jl. Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II, Palembang, South Sumatra, was built in the 1820s and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The museum has a collection of more than 368 artifacts ranging from archaeological specimens, ethnography, ceramics, fine arts and old currencies. JP/Khairul Saleh
It was named after Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II for his bravery in leading the fight against hordes of British and Dutch troops hell-bent on taking over the city.
Nowadays, the museum is frequently crowded on school holidays, when packs of local students flock the building in the hopes of learning bits and pieces about their city’s history.
The museum only charges Rp 1,000 (11.1 US cents) per visitor and guides will always be ready to accompany them in going through all the exhibited artifacts.
“I love going to this museum, as it contains much to learn about the Sriwijaya kingdom and the Palembang Darussalam sultanate. What you find here, they don’t teach at school,” junior high school student Fajar Syahputra told The Jakarta Post recently.
The Museum is open every day: from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 am on Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It is closed to the public on national holidays.
Source: Khairul Saleh, The Jakarta Post, Palembang | Mon, 11/21/2011