Sabah Museum

The Sabah Museum main building is easily recognizable with its unique shape roof top, which is designed after a traditional Rungus Longhouse. The Museum Proper houses a few collection of ceramics, artifacts and Sabah’s history. The entrance to the Museum Proper is displayed with a 50 feet long Bryde’s whale’s skeletons, which met its misfortune at the shallow sea of Gaya Island a few years back. The Time Tunnel is a show case of Sabah prehistorical times to the more recent history right after Sabah joined the Malay Federation. Before 1900 most of the local history is in written form, and from the twenty century onwards the history comes alive with many black and white pictures.

The ceramics section has jars, dishes, and bowls dating back to China’s Song Dynasty (AD. 960 – 1279). Ceramics from the Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, as well as the most recent Qing Dynasty are also on display. Other interesting ceramic wares like pillows (head rest), spittoons, cosmetic boxes, and two sets of beautiful condiment dishes, one round and the other one square, from the Qing Dynasty are collected. Not only ceramic wares from China are collected, visitors also get to see ceramic wares from Vietnam (14th – 19th Century), Thailand(14th – 16th Century), Japan (17th – 19th Century) and Europe (19th – 20th Century) at the Sabah Museum.

Artifacts like weapons which consist of cannons, wooden shield, swords, kris, blowpipes, and spears are also in the collection. Many of the swords have their origin from Kalimantan, southern Borneo and some are from the southern Philippines. Some of these swords collected here were used in the up rising against the British rulers during the 19th century. Brass wares of daily life of old were also on display. These include the tea pot, rice pot, metal box, tobacco containers, as well as the Gantang (rice measuring pot).

A few of Sabah indigenous people, namely the Bajau, Bisaya, Dusun, Idahan, and Iranun with their traditional wedding wears are exhibited here. Very Colourful and some hand woven textiles are used by these local tribes. The old farming method used by the local tribes and their bamboo technology are also on show. Basketery, Musical instruments, and many household implements can also be seen here. Sabah Musuem also has a few collection of Jars dating back to the 17th Century which were used by the Kadazandusun tribe as burial containers; coffins for the west.

The Natural History section collected many animals, birds and insects that are local to the regions. Some taxidermised green turtle, mongoose, rhinocerous and sail fish are on show here. Many birds from the small black and white Magpie Robin to the larger long peak Hornbill are stuffed for display on glass cabinets. As many as 100 species of butterflies, including the very beautiful Raja Brook, are also on show. 40 different species of moths and about 20 different species of beetles also greet our visitors here. Animals local to the Sabah Jungle like Borneo gibbon, giant squirrel, red leaf monkey, sambar deer, and sun bear also get a home at the Natural History section.

Outside the Museum Proper check out some of the vintage cars which have been donated by the locals. A navy blue Ross Royal is parked just next to the main door. Sabah is the only place in Borneo Island with trains and railways system. An early version of North Borneo Railways locomotive, named “Kinabalu”, commenced service in 1912 as a passengers train between Jesselton and Papar, is on displayed at the back of the Museum Proper.

The Science and Education centre next to the Musuem Proper has a permanent exhibition on oil and gas production, an exhibition on broadcasting technology. Sabah art gallery houses many paintings done by some of Sabah finest artists.

For the many visitors who do not have the time to travel to the many different parts of Sabah, the Heritage Village is a jewel that shows many of Sabah indegenious people and their architectual knowledge, all in a single place. Different tribes have their own different ways of building houses using materials that are common to certain areas. Many of the local tribes in Sabah dwell in traditional long houses and many of them still do so till these days. At the Heritage Village the Rungus Long house, the Bajau Long house as well as the Murut long house are represented. Visitors can walk into all these houses and experience the way of life of the early tribal lifestyle. Even the Hakka Chinese has their old traditional wooden house, with its mud ground, exhibited here. Other houses that are available at the Heritage Village include Bisaya House, Bonggi House, Bamboo House, Lotud House and Brunei House.

The bookstore beside the Museum Proper has a lot of books that are on Sabah history, nature and wildlife. Handicrafts and souvenirs are aplenty at the Museum bookstore.

rungus long house

Opening Hours: Daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Admission Charges

International Visitors RM 15.00
Malaysian RM 2.00

Malaysian Only

Student with uniform or Student Card Free
Senior Citizens aged 55 years and above Free
Children aged 12 and under Free
Disable visitors Free

Sabah Museum
Jalan Muzium,
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
tel: 6088 253 199, 6088 225 033, 6088 253 305, and 6088 215 563
fax: 6088 240 230

Other destinations in Kota Kinabalu:
Ten best destinations of the West Coast Division
Atkinson Clock Tower
Observatory Tower
Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre

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