When you go to a school where tests are a daily affair, having the school arrange for you and your entire year to go to a couple of museums for a whole day would be an exciting thing. On February 20, we (finally) breathed some fresh air together on a field trip. Our first stop was Museum Bank Indonesia or Museum BI.
The ambiance was rather quiet and calm in the museum which is highly contrast of the heavy traffic going on outside of the museum. The museum itself is located at the former headquarters of De Javasche Bank, the central bank of Dutch Indies during the colonial times – thus it had a colonial look with marble pillars and white exterior everywhere. But don’t be fooled, because when you enter the museum…
… this will be the sight that welcomes you.
Unlike most Dutch buildings which have wooden interiors, this museum is covered in full-on marble. Oh, and you’ll have to go through a metal detector first before entering the building. And the door is automatic. And there’s air-conditioning.
My first thought upon entering this building is how it looks like the library in New York.
The ticket for the museum is free, absolutely free which is surprising considering how well-maintained and cool the museum is.
After walking in, the first chamber you’ll enter would be the theater room where they will play you a short film about the economic history of Indonesia and how Bank Indonesia came to be. The film actually served as an explanation for the first half of the museum.
Inside the museum, we were directed through this maze that explains the events that happened in the movie through exhibitions.
Oh hi there, random Dutch guy.
Uniforms of various soldiers that have been to Indonesian as well as the Indonesian army back then.
“Ever since the Colonial times, the Chinese in Dutch Indies have been entrusted to handle all financial matters” No wonder…
This exhibition was so cool because it reenacted the war with its sound effects. You could hear bullets whizzing, gunshots fired, bombs dropped – which were so awesome.
Overall, I’ve never been inside a museum with a much more fun way to describe historical events. This museum described the bloody events of 1965 with a room filled with TVs that were broken with buzzing ants on the screen, repetitive grave-toned news reading, and such and the hyperinflation with an exhibition of phones ringing by itself to describe the chaos going on that time.
This museum already got me to think that its the best museum I’ve ever been to just by walking around the timeline part of the museum. Plus, it’s entirely air-conditioned!
Afterwards, we went to the original chambers that were used as meeting rooms back when the building was used as the bank headquarters.
Inside those glass cases were sinks because the Dutch were so afraid of catching diseases from Indonesians. Meh, so racist.
This part of the museum is still closed for public.
And then we were escorted to the highlight of this museum according to other travel reviews : the money chambers! But first we entered the gold chamber which was filled with metals covered with real gold on the outside. You could also get the feel of holding 26 pounds’ worth of gold inside that chamber.
And then at last, it was time to enter the money chamber. The chamber was home to various bills from various times of the history – from Pre-Colonial periods until now. There were also glass shelves that kept bills from all over the world. And because of the fragility of the old bills, flash photography is prohibited so I suggest you bring a camera with high ISO range if you have shaky hands.
Overall, the museum was a fun experience and easily the best museum I’ve ever visited in Indonesia. I highly recommend this museum for you to visit because you’ll learn a lot in a non-boring way.
Oh, and it’s a great place to take pictures too. There are amazing photogenic spots in the museum that basically screamed “take a picture of me!”
Pretty garden behind the museum
The legendary Stasiun Kota is located just across the museum!
If you happen to be hungry, there’s a cafe at the side of the museum.
I would go on and on, gushing about this museum but it would bore the hell out of you so I should stop now. But I really hope that you would visit this museum too someday and learn from it.
If you want to pay the museum a visit, it’s open from 8.30 AM to 2.30 PM from Tuesday to Thursday, 8.30 to 11 AM on Friday, and 9 AM to 4 PM on weekends. It’s closed on Monday and public holidays, so go check the Indonesian holiday calendar first before you visit.
Address : Pintu Besar Utara 3, Jakarta Kota. Phone 021-2600158 for more info.