I first learned about Asian textiles and costumes when I was in second year college. The subject was not that extensive and I wanted to learn more about the rich diversity of the different regions of Asian countries so when I went to Kuala Lumpur, I visited a place where I can absorb as much as I can about those things — The National Textile Museum or also known as Muzium Tekstil Negara.
I actually spent a couple of hours going through the four galleries in this beautiful Mughal-Islamic style building. The exhibit was a bit dark, I suppose this was to keep harsh lights from bleaching out the colors in the displays. Nonetheless, the museum had a great collection of textiles through the years, as early as the prehistoric era right up to the modern times, which was displayed in a very attractive manner. The texts and labels accompanying the artifacts were in Bahasa Malaysia and English — a bonus for foreign tourists! There were also interactive videos about embroidery, tie-dye, canting, freehand printing and other techniques and fabrics. I was especially attracted to the collection of traditional Malay costumes and accessories in the upper gallery! It amazes me until now how significant it is for the Malays to preserve their heritage to maintain and reinforce their cultural identity.
Oddly though, the museum doesn’t seem to be that heavily promoted in tourist literature. But for me, this was the highlight of my time in Malaysia! It’s definitely worth a visit, even if you have little interest in textiles. If you’re planning to visit the museum, it’s located at JKR 26, Lot 50 Seksyen 70, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free.
My goal is to visit the different fashion and textiles museums around the world!