The National Museum in Jakarta sits on the western side of Merdeka Square. After various incarnations under a number of different names, the National Museum was opened in 1868. Often referred to as the ‘Elephant Building’ due to the bronze elephant statue at its entrance, this impressive museum houses a huge collection, providing an in-depth insight into Indonesia’s fascinating cultural heritage.
The National Museum essentially takes visitors on a journey through Indonesia’s history, from prehistoric times right up to the present day. There are almost 150,000 artifacts on display here, with prehistoric, archaeological, ceramic, ethnographic, numismatic/heraldic, geographic, and colonial collections to explore.
A new wing was added to the museum in 2007, with four levels dedicated to the neo-classical colonial era and the origins of mankind in Indonesia, including a model of the Flores ‘hobbit’. Elsewhere, there are items from the eras of Hinduism and Buddhism, known as the Indonesian classical era, with ancient statues of Hindu gods and the Buddha.
The National Museum is located in Merdeka Square. The Indonesian Heritage Society offers free English-speaking tours of the museum at 10:30am on Tuesdays, and at 10:30am and 1:30pm on Thursdays.