Quiet Museums: Don’t Want to Live, but Don’t Want to Die

By: Sahrudinalwaysmagelang@gmail.com

Why on earth so many museums are silent as the grave?

Why do numerous people would rather go to the mall, cafe, or just stay at home than to a museum?

Do they just not feel welcome in museums, or, they really don’t like museums?

What makes plenty of museums look like they don’t want to die, while at the same time, they don’t want to live?

Can museums change visitors from being passive viewers to active museum enthusiasts?

TALK about a museum, either State-owned or private is not as simple as it seems.

In it, there are at least three factors involved: money, management, and people.

Money definitely is at the root of most museums problems.

Even for State-owned museums, they cannot completely rely on government subsidies.

Although, State-owned museums have a little better fate than private ones.

A private museum doesn’t have access to the resources a State-owned museum has.

A private museum doesn’t have the same support (from government) as a State-owned museum has.

I’ve been looking a lot enough about this in the town where I live.

There are 13 museums in Magelang: 5 in Magelang Regency, and 8 in Magelang Municipality.

Some of them get financial support from government, and others find themselves struggling to make ends meet.

Some of them have no entry fees, and others support their life by charging admission.

It seems like they have their own particular fate.

Museums are located in the area of Borobudur temple tourism park (Gusbi, Karmawibhangga and Samudra Raksa museums) get on average more than 1,000 of visitors a day.

In Magelang, Borobudur area is one of prime tourism business locations.

Gusbi, gallery houses dozens of unique objects, for example, employs about 15 staff.

It sharply contrasts with others are situated outside and far from the Magelang’s main attraction, which like I said before, silent as the grave.

For those hushed museums, almost none of them make a profit from ticket sales.

Admission income is still not enough to cover all their expenses, such as the electricity bills and salaries for the staff and workers.

Some of these museums are only able to employ one or two staff are working double duty.

They simply cannot make it long term without considerable public and private support.

What, then, is a museum to do?

Underscoring the common belief that museums can’t run like ordinary businesses; and because of their distinctive role as agents of many greatest works of art and other scientific, important, and historic objects; museums need to engage the public in rethinking their mission, focus and financing.

Good to hear the rarely visited museums have not done the unthinkable so far: to sell some of their collections to cover operating costs.***

List of museums in Magelang Regency and Magelang Municipality:
Karmawibhangga, Samudra Raksa and Gusbi Gallery museums — located in Borobudur temple tourism park, Magelang Regency.
Sasana Guna Rasa, Wayang (puppet, and masks) Museum — Pondok Tingal Hotel, Borobudur, Magelang Regency.
Haji Widayat (visual arts) Museum — Mungkid District, Magelang Regency.
Bumiputera (Insurance) Museum — Magelang Municipality
General Sudirman (history, semi-military) Museum — Magelang Municipality
Abdul Djalil (military) Museum, owned by the Indonesia Military Academy — Magelang Municipality
Oei Hong Djien I, II, and III (visual arts) museums — Magelang Municipality
BPK (Supreme Audit Agency) Museum — Magelang Municipality
Diponegoro Museum (history, semi-military) — Magelang Municipality

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