In October 2006, a small group gathered at Malaysia’s Muzium Negara (National Museum) with the idea of starting a volunteer organization that would guide visitors through the various galleries, plus perform in-depth research on various artifacts found on display and in storage. After all, Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore have large museum volunteer groups, Kuala Lumpur should not be any different.
The Museum Volunteers Malaysia was officially launched on 19 April 2007 at the Muzium Negara in Kuala Lumpur by the late Director General of the Department of Museums Malaysia, Dato ‘Dr Adi Haji Taha. The first volunteers group comprised of 20 foreign and Malaysian ladies.
The first meeting of the group was held at the Muzium Negara in October 2006 and attended by the Deputy Director of the Museum, Ms Janet Tee Siew Mooi, Ms Marie Christine Tseng (former Chairperson of the Indonesian Heritage Society), Ms Angela Naylor, Datin Sabrinah Morad and a small group of women interested in museums. They set up and attended the first training course which included lectures on Malaysian culture, heritage and history and selected readings of related materials. There were also guiding workshops in the museum galleries run by trained volunteers from the Jakarta and Singapore Museum Volunteers groups. The first 15 MVM Guides graduated in April 2007.
Gradually, the MVM became more organized. The first President was Chrissie Lioe (2008-2011). In 2010, the Museums Department formally incorporated the MVM into its organization and set up a secretariat to assist the group. The name changed slightly to Museum Volunteers (MV) and the training programme also expanded to include the Textiles Museum. In 2011, Karen Loh became the second president of the Museum Volunteers. Afidah Rahim is the current President.