HERITAGE MUSEUM THE BEST PLACE TO LEARN PAPUAN HISTORY
The Heritage Museum on the campus of Cenderawasih University, Jayapura City, is the most recommended museum tourist spot by Lonely Planet, the most prominent tourism site in the world. Quoting indonesia.go.id, this museum is located on the campus of Cenderawasih University (Uncen), Jayapura City.
This is the only campus that manages its own museum. The white-dominated museum building looks majestic and is right 10 meters from the edge of the Jayapura-Sentani highway in the Abepura District. It is around 1 hour by road from Dortheys Hiyo Eluay International Airport, Sentani, Jayapura Regency.
In this museum, we don’t only see a collection of cultural objects from the tribes in Papua but at the same time learn the long history of Papua. Quoting the website of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, www.kemdikbud.go.id, the Heritage Museum was founded in 1970 and inaugurated by the Director General of Public Education and Culture of the Ministry of Education and Culture at that time, Ida Bagus Mantra, on October 1, 1973.
“IN THIS MUSEUM, WE DON’T ONLY SEE A COLLECTION OF CULTURAL OBJECTS FROM THE TRIBES IN PAPUA BUT AT THE SAME TIME LEARN THE LONG HISTORY OF PAPUA. THE HERITAGE MUSEUM WAS FOUNDED IN 1970 AND INAUGURATED BY THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF PUBLIC EDUCATION AND CULTURE OF THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE AT THAT TIME, IDA BAGUS MANTRA, ON OCTOBER 1, 1973. ”
nitially, the management of this museum was under the Uncen Anthropology Institute. However, with the enactment of Government Regulation number 5 of 1980 concerning Organizational Arrangements for Higher Education/State Institutes, the anthropology institute, especially the research division, was merged into the Uncen Research Center.
Meanwhile, the Heritage Museum is not accommodated in the structure of the other units. Therefore, in 1990, the Rector’s Decree dated July 4, 1990 number 1698/PT.23.H/C/1990 was issued, which made the Heritage Museum a Technical Management Unit (UPT) under the supervision of Uncen’s Rector. The Heritage Museum is adjacent to the Uncen campus auditorium.
The museum has a collection of about 2,500 pieces, 900 pieces of which are stored in display cases. Not all of them are exhibited because the number of collections continues to grow every year. Some are kept due to the limited space of the museum and every 5-7 years the collections are rotated so that all of them get exhibited.
Ethnographic objects on display in this museum include kitchen utensils, tools related to people’s daily lives, such as equipment for farming, hunting and fishing, clothing and jewelries. Then war equipments, sacred objects, means of transportation, and musical instruments. There are also wood carvings, bark paintings, and beads. Collectibles are divided into five styles of the Melanesian culture.
The cultural works here are dominated by red, white, and black colors from natural materials such as clay to produce red. Then, there is camphor for white and black from wood charcoal. These natural dyes also function as a preservative. The museum’s collections are divided into Papuan and foreign originating from Dofonsoro Sepik, Saireri, South Coast, Central Highlands, and the Kepala Burung region.
Here we can also see a wooden sowang pole from the traditional house of the Sentani people, which was taken from the lake. The pole was supposed to be sent to Germany, but was confiscated and kept in this museum. Unlike museums in general, which are cold because there is air conditioning, here the room temperature is left above 30 degrees Celsius because most of the collection is old wood and has high historical value. Cold temperatures will speed up the wood weathering process.
The existence of this museum cannot be separated from the efforts of Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, the 49th Governor of New York and the 41st Vice President of the United States. One of his seven children, Michael Clark Rockefeller, a young US historian and economist once made an expedition to the island of Papua.
The great-grandson of the world’s richest man in the early 20th century, John Davison Rockefeller Sr., admired the wooden sculptures of the Asmat and Dani tribes. Michael, a cum laude graduate from Harvard University, then left for Papua with his friend, Rene Wassing, an anthropologist from the Netherlands in November 1961. They wanted to make a documentary film Dead Bird, which is about the Dani tribe in the mountainous area of the Baliem Valley, while collecting artworks belonging to the Asmat and Dani tribes.
On November 17, 1961, they intended to take a boat to the Arafura Sea via the Betsj River. But the boat capsized and Michael’s body was never found. The US government officially announced Michael’s death in 1964. Nelson, through the Rockefeller Foundation, then provided a grant to build the Heritage Museum on the Uncen campus.
In addition to storing Asmat art collections, this museum also houses statues that were hunted by Michael and his friends. Currently, the Heritage Museum is one of the places recommended by Lonely Planet, the world’s leading tourist site, which should be visited by domestic and foreign tourists while in Papua. This Heritage Museum can also be used as a tourist destination for Papua PON participants before or after completing their matches.