Jul 20, 2014

Trick Art Fun at Made In Penang Interactive Museum

On our recent Penang trip with our buddies during the June School Holidays, besides the mandatory food-gorging sessions and energy-sapping (but fun!) Escape Theme Park, we managed to bring the kiddos down to the Made In Penang Interactive Museum for a three-dimensional interactive art experience. Think Trickeye at RWS or Alive! Museum at Suntec and you get the idea.

Made In Penang Interactive Museum (美因槟廊) opened in late 2013 and already, a lot of locals have been giving it the thumbs up for its fun and easy guide to the history of Penang. The museum's main attraction is its three-dimensional interactive art. The ground floor houses the Diorama Gallery while the upper floor showcases the Penang 3D Gallery.

The 3D experience starts immediately at the entrance... yes, meaning that this stretch of mural wall - Malaysia’s longest 3D wall mural by the way - depicting the historic Georgetown's waterfront 120 years ago, is FREE for everyone to pose!

Coolie hard at work
Coolies not so hard at work
The old classic trishaw pulling
Having a cuppa with Penang's Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng

The entrance fees are divided it into three categories: Malaysian citizens RM15, Non-malaysians RM 30 and children & students RM10. Adults receive a pin badge as a souvenir and the entrance ticket stub can be kept to be reused a bookmark - pretty innovative! Also, the ticket stub comes in handy inside the museum as there are two interactive stations that require the ticket stub for the attractions to come to life.

Level one of the museum houses the The Diorama Gallery, which depicts various scenes of life in Penang in miniature dioramas and are sculptured by Khoo Chooi Hooi. The dioramas are mersmerisingly detailed, and range from scenes of a durian and nasi lemak seller, to a sprawling panoramic scene of the George Town Waterfront during the early 20th Century.

More than 100 years ago, the trading of spices, pewter, charcoal, coupled with the shipment of potteries were common busy scenes on the waterfront of Weld Quay. And if you look at some the exhibits closely, there are actually loads of amazing details to be discovered. For example, the facade of the Behn Meyers building where the museum is home to.

Notice the windows in the above photo all have a triangular shape above them? All except one. One of the window has a dome shape above, and this posed a marker to the main door of the warehouse so that all ships will know where to unload their goods.

Then it was time to head up to the second floor of the museum, the place where the kiddos had the most fun of all!

Okay okay, I admit... the adults had tons of fun too!

The Trick Art Gallery was undoubtedly every adult's and child's favorite part of the museum, and all of us had a blast at going shutter-happy and poser-crazy here!

The wall murals cleverly uses various shadings and shadows to create tricks on the eye, with the paintings being brought to life -  and allowing visitors to invent their own imaginative (and often hilarious) poses!

I love the fact that many of the wall murals did not just feature generic fun paintings, but also included some of Penang's iconic landmarks and historic figures, as well as Penang food!

The most 'adventurous' mural of the lot was this Spider-Man atop of Queen Victoria Clock Tower.

The kids had to lie down on the floor to allow Spidey to save them. Hmmm, not too convincing no? So in the end, I had to give a proper demonstration. LOL.

I personally also liked this '打小人' wall mural. Literally meaning 'hitting little people', this popular folk culture is done with a red clog which is used to pound on a piece of paper with names of the people you want to curse, so as to wish them the best of ills. Definitely superstitious but highly fun when presented visually!

Remember the ticket stub? Point the QR code printed on the stub at two of the augmented reality kiosks located on the second floor and see a 3D image of Penang’s tallest bulding Komtar or the Penang ferry come to life.

There are two further interactive kiosks where children will get a kick out of seeing their faces being painted in the vivid colours of Sichuanese opera masks.

I think of all the children, Ayd had the most fun in posing with the wall murals. No surprise then that most of the photos I snapped inside the museum were of him! Heh.

Oh, another favourite of mine was this Peranakan room, which showcased two parallel dimensions through a mirror. 

Overall, the three-dimensional paintings were a hit with all of us, and provide a breath of fresh air to Georgetown's famed street art... especially so if you want to pose in air-conditioned comfort! At time of writing, we have not paid a visit to the Trickeye or Alive! museums in Singapore yet. But judging from the slew of photos I have seen online, I think the ones in Singapore look more interactive and imaginative. 

But in terms of having fun while learning aspects of Penang's history and culture as the same time, I have to say Made In Penang Interactive Museum certainly stands out for adults and kids alike. So the next time you are in Penang, and looking for an excuse to get away from the heat, this museum might just provide the perfect respite.

Useful Information

Made In Penang Interactive Museum 
No.3 Pengkalan Weld, 10300 George Town, Malaysia
Tel: +604 262 6119
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm
Admission Charges: Malaysian Residents RM15 | Foreigners RM30 | Child/Student RM10

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Anonymous said...

Is the child ticket for malaysians only?

smithsholidayroad said...

This looks great! Fantastic post and I have loved reading your adventures. Bron

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