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Penang State Museum

Housed in a handsome Victorian building, this museum traces Penang’s fascinating history through an extensive collection of artefacts, photographs and artwork.

The museum chronicles the city's transformation culturally, physically and politically since the days of Sir Francis Light, founder of the British colony in Penang in the 1800s. Transport yourself through Penang's past via a wealth of photographs accompanied by first-hand accounts of key events. Galleries of artefacts, including antiques once owned by prominent Chinese Straits families, give a comprehensive glimpse at the Penang of yesteryear.

The dignified structure of white with its high arches and tall columns was originally built as a school in 1821, but was converted into a museum and opened to the public in 1964. The museum is divided into two areas: an art gallery displaying a collection of local and international artwork, and exhibits detailing the city's history.

Wander the corridors of Penang's past through a plethora of photographs, including the series on the Penang Riots of 1867, or pictures depicting Penang during the World War II Japanese occupation. Various oil paintings by Captain Robert Smith of the East India Company allow you to see Penang through the eyes of early British colonists. Walk through the main hall of a Chinese trader's home and inspect the fine collection of furniture such as opium beds, and elaborate accessories like slippers and jewellery previously owned by Straits Chinese families.

Art aficionados will revel in the extensive local art collections located on the ground floor. Some interesting permanent collections include a series of paintings dedicated to Malay seamanship, and several portrayals of old Penang.

A railway car from the old Penang Hill service houses the museum's souvenir kiosk, creating an interesting atmosphere to peruse the souvenirs on sale.

Located along Farquhar Street in central Georgetown, the Penang State Museum is serviced by most major bus lines. It is open daily, except Friday and public holidays, and there is a small charge for entry.

Popular Activities at Penang State Museum

Get the most out of your time spent at Penang State Museum. Below is a list of the top things to do:

Want to know what else there is to do at this celebrated attraction? We suggest buying a Private Penang City Tour.

If you're chasing even more options, peruse our George Town things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Penang State Museum


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Top Hotel Deals

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Eastern And Oriental Hotel SG$232
Reviewed on 18 Apr,2019
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Eastern And Oriental Hotel

Eastern And Oriental Hotel

10 Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, Penang
     
    4.7 of 5
    5.0 out of 5.0

    Disappointed that the original building was closed for renovation. Tv picture and programming very poor.

    The Wembley A St Giles Hotel Penang SG$84
    Reviewed on 22 Apr,2019
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    The Wembley A St Giles Hotel Penang

    The Wembley A St Giles Hotel Penang

    183, Jalan Magazine, George Town
       
      4.2 of 5
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Love the view of the hotel overseeing the sea! Layout and aircon were great! Breakfast was superb! Stayed there for 4 days! Dining experience was pleasant in the evening! Love the food! The minus part is that i felt that there was not enuf lighting in the roon. But overall, had an excellent stay! ...

      Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang SG$60
      Reviewed on 19 Apr,2019
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      Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

      Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang

      25-A Farquhar Street, Georgetown, George Town, Penang
         
        3.8 of 5
        4.0 out of 5.0

        The room and the food is good.

        Armenian Street Heritage Hotel SG$34
        Reviewed on 19 Apr,2019
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        Armenian Street Heritage Hotel

        Armenian Street Heritage Hotel

        139, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, Penang
           
          3.9 of 5
          3.5 out of 5.0

          The location is the best. Everything is quite close to this hotel in a walking distance.

          Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri-La SG$77
          Reviewed on 22 Apr,2019
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          Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri-La

          Hotel Jen Penang by Shangri-La

          Magazine Road, George Town, George Town, Penang
             
            4.2 of 5
            4.0 out of 5.0

            Great room and room service (try the Penang Char Kway Teow!). But the gym had a horrible sweat smell and we didn’t bother to use it.

            Chulia Mansion SG$47
            Reviewed on 19 Apr,2019
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            Chulia Mansion

            Chulia Mansion

            413 Lebuh Chulia, Georgetown, George Town, Penang
               
              4.5 of 5
              2.5 out of 5.0

              Right at Chili's street. Rapid buses right at the hotel.

              Le Dream Boutique Hotel SG$47
              Reviewed on 22 Apr,2019
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              Le Dream Boutique Hotel

              Le Dream Boutique Hotel

              139, Jalan Pintal Tali, George Town, George Town, Penang
                 
                4.7 of 5
                3.5 out of 5.0

                It is a very comfortable place to stay, all the nice food street around with just 2-3mins walk distance. Will definitely go back to this hotel if travel to penang next time.

                Hotel Malaysia SG$50
                Reviewed on 19 Apr,2019
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                Hotel Malaysia

                Hotel Malaysia

                No. 7, Penang Road, Georgetown, George Town, Penang
                   
                  3.6 of 5
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Some booming sound heard in room until 2-3am. Otherwise most services are good n acceptable.