About Museum




The Penang State Museum on Farquhar Street is the first building that comes under the administration of the Penang State Museum Board. Its chronology began in 1816 as a building donated by the East India Company, built under the supervision of Captain Robert Smith (the Royal Engineer), and to be used as an education center. The Penang Free School that was established in 1816 moved into this building in 1821. The school was open to all Penang-born regardless of race and thus the name Penang Free. In 1928 the Hutching School occupied this building.

In the Second World War, the building suffered bombings by enemy and Allied forces and the entire east wing was razed. It was set for demolition in 1961 as the State Government wanted to build a new school. The plan changed, thanks to the first Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, who suggested the building be turned into a museum instead.

Year 1964 saw the establishment of the Penang State Museum and Art Gallery, which was officially opened on 14th April 1965 by the first Governor of Penang, Yang Amat Mulia Tun Raja Uda bin Raja Muhammad.

In an effort to enhance and accord prestige of our motherland visual artists Penang State Art Gallery continues to increase the permanent collections to be equal with other public and private galleries. With this effort, Penang Art Gallery indirectly gave recognition to the local artists when their artwork serve as a permanent collection and owned by the Government of Penang State. Penang State Art Gallery has appreciated the contribution and involvement of the artist in Penang through the retrospective exhibition which held every year since year 2006. Collaboration between the Penang State Museum is not only limited to artists but has also established cooperation with the higher learning institutions and also with local and international art galleries.


To collect, study, preserve and showcase the state and cultural heritage by promoting the educational exhibits of history and heritage and culture.


Nourishing and cultivate the interest of appreciation of the state's heritage and culture to realize the awareness and love for our motherland for the present and future generations so that the passage of time does not expire.


  • To collect material that has a value of heritage and history of art.
  • Implement conservation work on the collection as needed basis throughout the year.
  • Display of visual art materials, artifacts and history according to the theme of the year.
  • Conduct research on visual arts, heritage and history for the purpose of education, information and publications.
  • To serve as a state tourism destination.