Penang is known for many tourist sights, mainly heritage buildings and historical monuments that still retain their charm today. The island is a treasure trove for those searching for cultural and artistic experiences, and there’s no better place to start than with the many museums you’ll find here. There’s something for everyone, young or old. If you need to walk off the calories after a big plate of Penang Char Kuey Teow, we suggest visiting one (or all!) of these 10 Unique Museums in Penang.
1) P Ramlee Gallery
To kick things off, you have to visit P Ramlee Gallery at Jalan Counter Hall if you are a fan of classic Malay films. The late Tan Sri P Ramlee was born in Penang, and this museum showcases many personal artifacts of his, such as his musical instruments, clothing, and vintage film posters. It is indeed an experience to visit this gallery and take in the environment, imagining the icon himself as he composed his legendary songs. As one of Malaysia’s most talented and celebrated entertainers, this is a must-visit for any pop culture aficionado.
Getting there: Lot 2180, Jalan P Ramlee, Taman Kampar, 10460 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
2) Upside Down Museum
For the kids and kids at heart, the Upside Down Museum promises a fun time. It’s definitely a favourite amongst those who appreciate a good photo-op, as who doesn’t want a quirky upside down photo on their Instagram feed? Definitely a good option when you have time to kill and would like an attraction that doesn’t require much trekking or being out in the sun. Visit them at Lebuh Kimberley.
Getting there: 45, Lebuh Kimberley, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
3) Penang Peranakan Mansion
The Peranakan community is one that is fascinating, with customs that combines traditions from the Chinese, Malay and even British cultures. Their greatest legacy is perhaps their delicious cuisine, but if you want to learn more, this Mansion is a great way to do so. The Mansion is a recreation of what would have been the quintessential wealthy Baba home a century ago, reflecting their luxurious way of life. Check out their antique collectibles, and marvel at their unique architecture. They are located at Church Street.
Getting there: 29, Church St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang.
4) Ghost Museum of Penang
Obviously not for the faint of heart, but horror fans will certainly enjoy it. No, this isn’t a scary maze-like museum where people dressed up as ghouls try to re-create internet jump scares in real life. In fact, it’s more like a walk-in Wikipedia page, for all your ghostly knowledge needs. Of course, there is a notice that certain elements may be rather disturbing, so this is perhaps best for those who are into museums of this sort. Not only will you learn about local supernatural folklore and beliefs, but also international ones. Find them at Lebuh Melayu.
Getting there: 57, Lebuh Melayu, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
5) The Camera Museum
This museum opened its doors in 2013, and showcases around 200 cameras in the vicinity on Muntri Street. The shop itself resembles the pre-war time style, similar to the vintage items on display. You can even tinker around with the vintage cameras, though of course with great care, as these items are delicate. This experience will be especially educational for the younger generation who may not have handled film cameras before.
Getting there: 49, Lebuh Muntri 10200, Penang.
6) TeddyVille Museum
Prepare for the cuddliest museum visit ever at TeddyVille — it’s full of teddy bears! After all, everyone needs a dose of cuteness whilst on holiday. With 9000 square feet to trek, you will certainly have a beary good time, learning the origins of the teddy bear and also Penang’s history. They’re located on the ground floor of DoubleTree Resort by Hilton.
Getting there: 54, Jalan Low Yat, Puncak Ria, 11100 Batu Feringghi, Pulau Pinang.
7) Colonial Penang Museum
Culture enthusiasts who want an insight into Penang’s history will appreciate Colonial Penang Museum as it is almost like taking a step back in time. Here, you can experience what life was like in the 19th century, taking into consideration the British influence on Penang at the time. There are antiques and items with great historical importance to Malaya, from paintings to documents. Check out the gorgeous stained glass pieces which are certain to enthuse art aficionados. Find them on Scott Road.
Getting there: 7, Jalan D.S. Ramanathan, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
8) Made In Penang Interactive Museum
Here you’ll get to experience Penang, albeit a little differently than usual. From wall paintings that depict life in Penang in the 19th century, a handmade jetty waterfront that’s 20 feet long, and interactive trick art and kiosks, all will be entertained for sure. You can even have a cup of coffee with Penang’s beloved Chief Minister – or at least a painted version of him. You can book an appointment online to visit their museum at Pengkalan Weld.
Getting there: 3, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
9) Toy Museum
For some, Hollywood wax museums may be too far out of reach. Penang has the answer to all your problems, with their very own wax figures in their Toy Museum. Previously, it was located at Tanjung Bungah, but now it’s situated at Heritage Garden and boasts over 100,000 toys of all kinds – not just wax figures, and is considered to be the World’s Largest Toy Museum! You’ll find all your childhood companions, superheroes, cartoon characters and all, along with movie figurines and memorabilia.
Getting there: Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang, 11050 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang.
10) iBox Museum of Glass
It sounds like a hazardous place to be, what with the notion of stepping into a room full of glass, but it really is a treasure trove for glass art. Located on Jalan Burma, iBox is the first glass museum in Malaysia. Be sure to check out the longest batik artwork made from glass, one that’s even in the Malaysian Book of Records. After you’ve marvelled at the art, you can even try a hand at making your own glass art, or purchasing some small souvenirs for your loved ones.
Getting there: 6, Jalan Burma, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang.