Aceh Museum

The Aceh provincial museum is a rather tired old place, but it can still be worth a visit if you have the time. The museum is within a short walk of most of the other main sights.

Rumah Aceh
The Rumoh Aceh traditional style house in the grounds of the Aceh Museum.

The first thing you'll likely notice on entering the museum compound is the Rumoh Aceh, a traditionally styled house that was originally constructed for the Colonial Exhibition held in Semaran in 1914. The pavilion displayed a collection of artifacts mostly from the private collection of FW Stammerhaus. After the exhibition, the pavilion was returned to Aceh and it along with the artifacts became the core of the new Aceh Museum. Stammerhaus became the museum's first curator.

In 1969, Indonesian independence, the museum was moved from its original home to the current location. In addition to the Rumoh Aceh, collections are housed in several other buildings, as well as scattered around the compound. One item of particular note is a large brass bell. It was gift from the Chinese Ming emperor and delivered by Admiral Cheng Ho in 1414 on one of his many voyages to the region.

Also in the compound is a collection of cannons, from ancient to relatively modern, as well as the graves of some of the sultans of Aceh. The exhibits inside the buildings are a bit staid and dusty, and many are not signed in English, but there are still some photos and artifacts that are interesting to see.

The museum is open daily, from 9:00 am to around noon, and again from around 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm. The exact noon-time closing hours vary by up to 30 minutes depending on the day of the week. Admission to the exhibits is 1,000 Rupiah (0.06 USD). The museum has a web site, but it's in Indonesian only.