Image by Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0

Whenever you go to Belitung Island, it is a good idea to visit an old museum located at no A41, Melati Road in Tanjung Pandan town. It isn’t a big museum, but it exhibits a great number of archaeological objects that have immense historical and cultural values.

While you set foot in the museum, you’re welcome by a giant taxidermy arapaima and crocodile. This freshwater fish and estuarine crocodile live in the rivers of Belitung Island.

In the inner room, there are the collections of weapons left by the Dutch and Japanese soldiers. They’re the samurai swords, riffles, handguns, shotguns, etc. The authentic samurai sword that was made in 1514 is one of the oldest weapons in this museum.

Besides the weapons left by the colonizers, there is the collection of weapons left by the kingdoms of Belitung Island. This collection consists of wavy blade daggers, spears and machetes.

Tools used by ancient people, such as clothes irons, cups and betel nut baskets are kept in the other room. Household equipment like kettle, copper pot and bushel are stored in the cupboard.

The treasure found at the bottom of the sea, such as ceramics and pottery are also displayed in the museum. All are put in a special room in an orderly manner.

The information and description of the oldest lost treasure can be found on Belitung Shipwreck website. The ship that sank in the sea was an Arabian dhow, which sailed from Africa to China in 830 AD. The ship sank while it was on the way back home and the cause of the disaster was unknown.

The archeologists got two important clues from the shipwreck, which are the shape of the dhow and the artifacts of Ming dynasty. This information reveals the bilateral trade between China and the Middle East.

There are also the models of the ships that sank in the west Indonesian territory waters. They’re the Diana (Britain), Tek Sing and Turiang (China), Nassau and Geldennalsen (Dutch), Don Duarte de Guerra (Portugal) and Ashigara (Japan).

The visitors can see the scale model of tin processing and smelting of Belitung Island. The scale model tells us that the tin mining has been well developed on this island.

In the past, the name of this museum was Geological Museum founded by an Austrian geologist called Dr. R. Osberger on March, 2, 1962. As more and more collections were added, the name of the museum was changed to Tanjung Pandan Museum.

At first, the Museum was going to be built at Kelapa Kampit. However, the president director of the tin mining company changed his mind and decided to build it in Tanjung Pandan. Therefore, it is more convenient to people who would like to visit the museum.

At the back of the Museum, there is a large area that functions as the zoo. Various types of Poultry, fishes and reptiles are kept in this zoo. There is a playground where children can play joyfully.

Besides knowing the historical relics, visitors can admire the biodiversity with their family members.

The museum opens at 8.00 am and closes at 17.00 pm. It’s open to the public from Monday to Sunday.


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