14 September 2008

The Puppet Museum

The Puppet Museum in Jakarta is very famous and displays one of the best assortments of Wayang Puppets in Java. It has a huge store of wonderful characters that were once upon a time used for live shows. The museum has articles mainly from Indonesia, and also other countries like China, Malaysia, India, and Cambodia.

The museum building is quite old, going back to 1912, and was previously known as the Museum of Old Batavia. It also has on display the memorabilia related to Dutch Governor Generals. They include Jan Pieterszoon Coen, (he was the founder of Batavia). The site of the museum has many historical landmarks related to it, like colonial occupations, and natural calamities. The original occupant of the museum was a Dutch Reformed Church that got destroyed by an earthquake in 1808, followed by a warehouse up till 1912. There is a cemetery on the backyards of the museum where a few Dutch ruling officials were buried.

The Puppet Museum has a huge collection of puppets, thousands of them, ranging puppets from every corner of Indonesia. Two puppets are particularly famous: the Wayang Kulit, and the Wayang Golek. These are shadow puppets and are used for recreation and entertainment with live shows, scheduled usually around 10 am on Sundays. You can also get to see free puppet shows on Sunday afternoons. There are many guides who will show you around the museums and also arrange puppet shows for you. In case you think of purchasing a puppet be sure to inquire the correct prices beforehand, as these guides at times expect extraordinary amounts.

Overlooking the Fatahillah Square and the Old City Hall (Dutch-colonial make), is located the Café Batavia, a famous and popular restaurant. Here, museum visitors can relax, hang around and enjoy some typical Indonesian delicacies for lunch, dinner or as snacks.

When you visit Jakarta as a tourist or businessmen, keep a day to go visit the Puppet Museum, as you'll have a great time there, regardless of your age. Stay at a nearby Jakarta hotel to ensure you have easy and quick access to the museum and other attractions worthwhile to be paid a visit. You can select accommodations from any hotel in Jakarta during off-peak season, but it's advisable to book ahead during the tourist season.

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