the museum istiqlal: an indonesian islamic museum
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DESCRIPTIONThis is the power point or a remote presentation prepared for the Third International Conference of the Inclusive Museum held recently in Istanbul, Turkey.It provides a short description of the museum and the project towards the paper prepared for the conference and for a related paper forthcoming in the Indonesian journal Suhuf. The purpose of the power point is to provide a number of different views of the exhibits in the museum. It is made public here in order to bring greater attention to this important if relatively little known Islamic museum.
The Museum Istiqlal: An Indonesian Islamic Museum An on-line slide presentation of the exhibition galleries
Third International Conference on the Inclusive Museum June 29-July 2 Yildiz Technical University Istanbul, Turkey
Jonathan Zilberg, Ph.D University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The following images provide a sense of the lay out of the Museum Istiqlal and the type of objects to be found there. Except for the splendid crimson textile with golden prayer displayed prominently at the entrance no individual specimens are presented here for reasons of space and general focus. The collection includes photographs of pages of illuminated manuscripts kept in the National Library, photographs and models and architectural lay outs of mosques from across the archipelago. There are art works in all media including glass paintings, ceramics, textiles and calligraphy. In addition, there are endangered manuscripts, korans, copies of elaborately inscribed grave stones, and much else.
This encyclopedic collection of Islamic artifacts was gathered together for the first Festival Istiqlal held in 1991 at which time the plans for building the museum were announced to the public by the Vice President. The Museum Istiqlal and its companion building the Bayt al Quran was officially opened on April, 20th, 1997 by President Soeharto. Occupying an all important symbolic space at the front entrance to the national theme park Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, it attracts on average three thousand visitors a month.
The paper accompanying this presentation details the history of the Museum Istiqlal. In particular, it discusses the problems the museum has faced in terms of achieving its original mission while emphasizing the quality of the collection, the original curatorial work and the excellent attention to display and detail. Above all the purpose of this paper and presentation is to emphasize how little known and appreciated this museum is it being in effect the national Islamic museum. In doing so, the paper hopes to stimulate greater national and international interest in this excellent resource for learning about the diversity and history of Islam in Indonesia. This is particular opportune as this conference took place during a state visit of the President of Indonesia, Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Ankara.
AcknowledgmentsI gratefully thank Prof Dr. H. M. Atho Mudzhar, Ketua Badan Litbang dan Diklat and Ali Akbar, Curator at the Museum Istiqlal for so graciously assisting me in this ongoing research project. I also thank Professor A. D. Pirous for first having brought this museum to my attention and to Lies Marcoes of The Asia Foundation and Annabel Teh Gallop of the British Library for their assistance. More detailed acknowledgements related to the research itself are provided in the paper submitted to The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum. I respectively dedicate this presentation and paper to the recently late Dr. Uka Tjandrasasmita who has to date written the definitive analysis of the Museum Istqlal, see Peran Bayt Al-Quran & Museum Istiqlal bagi Pembangunan Bangsa Indonesia in Suhuf, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2008, pp. 159165. Finally, the bibliography for the accompanying paper lists the excellent catalogs of the collection published for the Festival Istiqlal in 1991. A separate paper An Anthropological Account of a Visit to the Museum Istiqlal forthcoming in Suhuf Vol. 3, No. 2, 2010 provides a detailed bibliography of some publications relevant to the collection. It is presented there in part as a teaching resource and is a direct outcome of the opportunity presented by this conference in Istanbul.