Triwik Kurniasari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Jakarta History Museum is holding a one-month exhibition chronicling with photographs and descriptions the development of the capital city and its residents throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
The exhibition, which began July 15 and will end Aug. 16, displays photographs and stories chronicling the journey from old Jakarta, formerly known as Batavia, to modern Jakarta.
The head of exhibitions and education at the museum, Rucky Nellyta, said the event was aimed at commemorating the 481st anniversary of Jakarta, which fell on June 22, and the 63rd anniversary of Indonesia, which falls on Aug. 17.
"The event is a follow-up of an exhibition held in 2007 that depicted the capital during the 16th to 18th centuries," Nellyta told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
"We collected the stories from the Tropen Museum in Amsterdam, the Indonesia History Library, the National Archives Museum and public libraries belonging to administrations. The Tropen Museum also assisted us in providing training on museum exhibition management," she said.
She said she hoped the event would encourage people, especially students, to learn more about the history of Jakarta.
In the showroom, visitors can see how architecture in the city has developed, from the Dutch colonial style, including the Immanuel Church and Daendels Palace (now the Finance Ministry office), to modern-day skyscrapers.
Photographs on display include those of Gambir Market in Central Jakarta at the beginning of the 20th century, the Pancoran Glodok area, or commonly known as Chinatown, in West Jakarta in the 1950s and the floods that have submerged the capital so far this millennium.
The exhibition details the social life in Jakarta during the periods of Dutch colonialism and the Japanese occupation, and also displays statistics on the fluctuations in population during the 20th century.
The event has received positive responses from visitors. Christin Natalia, 16, who visited the exhibition with seven high-school friends, said the exhibition increased her knowledge on the history of the city.
"I did not know about the exhibition until I entered the museum. It's very interesting. It reminds me again about the history of Jakarta, which I learned at elementary school," she said.
"The stories and photographs made me realize that Jakarta has rapidly developed in the past 100 years. However, in some pictures, I saw that Jakartans were more disciplined than they are today," she added.
Another visitor, Lydia Alexandra, 15, said it would be better if the museum displayed historical objects in the showroom.
"It would be great if they put some historical objects in the exhibition to support the stories and photographs. It would also attract more visitors," said Lydia.
Nellyta said visitors could see the historical objects on the second floor of the museum.
"Most of the objects are items of furniture, like wooden chairs and cupboards, which are too heavy to be brought into the showroom, which is on the first floor," she said.
The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but is closed Mondays.
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