Poor image hinders revitalization

Museums in Indonesia have failed to be developed as tourist attractions, as well as study and research centers, due to poor management and public image. I Gede Pitana Brahmananda, director of history and archaeology, said that the majority of public museums managed by the regional administrations are in a dilapidated condition and are underdeveloped.

I am so concerned over the current condition of public museums in Bali, as well as other places in Indonesia. The facilities and the management are still below the acceptable level for a public museum, Pitana said. There are 275 museums in Indonesia managed by the government, as well as the private sector. The central government allocated Rp 100 billion [US$10.8 million] for the revitalization of 30 museums, he said. The national government has targeted revitalization of 150 museums across the country by 2014 as part of its aggressive Visit Museum year program, which started in 2010.

Revitalization of museums will comprise upgrading both physical facilities and ‘software’ — human resources, management and marketing, as well as promotional efforts to boost their image, explained Pitana. Museums, he said, have four important functions — conservation, education, entertainment and nation building. We have to change the unfavorable image of museums as just places to pile up antiques and dusty collections in unattractive displays, he said. Pitana also said these museums lack the supporting facilities to increase their attractiveness to the public. It is important also to change the local bureaucrats’ frame of mind; they always view museums as cost centers rather than educational places, he said. In Bali, he cited as an example that only 36,000 visitors went to the island’s museums.

Most of them were foreign tourists, he added. Meanwhile, Bali welcomed 2.8 million foreign tourists and more than 4 million domestic visitors in 2011. Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, chairman of Bali chapter of the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association, complained that Bali has only one public museum that can be promoted internationally. We only have the Bali Museum that is worth visiting. Many foreign tourists always ask about visiting museums in Bali, but we cannot take them to museums that are not well managed and are unattractive, Wijaya said. Wijaya urged museum managements to improve their facilities, including their displays, supporting facilities, programs, as well as sanitation facilities.

I Ketut Suastika, head of the Bali Culture Office, admitted that museum management in Bali was still below standard. His office is now overseeing a number of museums, including the Bali Museum and Le Mayeur museum. We received Rp 3.5 billion for the renovation of the museums from the central government, in addition to our own money from the provincial budget of Rp 1.5 billion, he said.

source : bali daily

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