Archaeology in Malaysia – MV Training Tues 02 Oct

By Soumya Kalyani (Batch 16)

One of the speakers on Tuesday 02 Oct was En. Ahmad Hakimi Khairuddin who is with the Department of Malay Socio-Culture / Fine Arts, Academy of Malay Studies, University of Malaya.  En. Hakimi defined the meaning of archaeology and took us through the early phases of man, the Stone Age (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic) and the Metal Age (Copper, Bronze and Iron).  Although archaeology can mean different things to different people depending on their perspective be it a historical perspective, art history, antiquarian or anthropology, it is essentially a reconstruction of the past, to understand a way of life, to then preserve this knowledge for future generations being mindful not to do so for personal gain or for sensationalism.

Neolithic artefacts discovered at an open site at Jenderam Hilir, Selangor (photo taken from the Encyclopedia of Malaysia – Early History, pp20)

Archeology provides through the study of the material remains, how man made sense of his environment and by providing a context through the material evidence, the study of archaeology can be streamlined by providing both the sequence of events and through stratigraphy, documenting as well as dating the sequence, thus providing a detailed analysis.

In Malaysian Archeology the three main time differences are Prehistory – a time period before the existence of written documents, roughly 2.5 million years ago until 1 B.C.E, history a time period with clear documentation, roughly 1,000 C.E until yesterday and Proto-History, a time period between Prehistory and History (i.e 1 C.E until 1,000 C.E), where history of the area can be reconstructed from external writings (mostly Indian, Arabian, Greek and Chinese) but local records do not exist.

En. Ahmad Hakimi then took us through the tools that were created during these early ages and the many sites in Malaysia where such evidence can still be found.

Batch 16 trainees

MV Training – 29 Sept 2012 (Batch 17)

Two interesting presentations had been planned as part of the MV training on 29 Sept and the trainees arrived bright and early.

First off was Karen Loh with an interesting talk titled Mysteries of Malaysian Shipwrecks.  Karen is the President of Museum Volunteers as well as the Director of Nanhai Marine Archaeology, which has salvaged 10 shipwrecks off the coast of Malaysia in collaboration with the Department of Museums and Antiquities.

Karen, presenting Mysteries of Malaysian Shipwrecks

She discussed some of the shipwrecks found around Malaysian waters as well as the reasons behind the many shipwrecks found in the region.  Most of the sunken ships excavated had been carrying ceramics from China, Thailand and Vietnam and Karen discussed the importance of these ceramics as time markers.  The designs and styles of the ceramics change over time and hence can be used to ascertain the time-period of an archaeological dig.  Karen also discussed the consequences of the Ming ban which saw a decrease in the supply of chinese goods.

Encik Ahmad Hakimi bin Khairuddin then discussed Archaeology in Malaysia.  Encik Hakimi is a lecturer with Universiti Malaya (Department of Malay Culture) with a keen interest in cultural anthropology as well as archaeology.  Encik Hakimi has a Masters of Arts in Anthropology from the Wichita State University and is currently pursuing his PhD.

En Hakimi with his riveting talk on archaeology in Malaysia

En. Hakimi started off by explaining the difference between prehistory, protohistory and history. He then briefed the trainees on the stone and metal ages in Malaysia touching on possible homo erectus sites in Malaysia, the Gua Cha burial site and Kuala Selinsing, the earliest proto-historic site in the peninsula.  He rounded off with a discussion on Lembah Bujang, the earliest Malay Kingdom in the peninsula.  Throughout the presentation, En Hakimi stressed the importance of looking at a broader context to explain an archaeological find as well as the importance of not jumping to conclusions but taking the time to understand all the variables associated with a find.  En. Hakimi left the audience with some thought provoking questions.

The trainees were engaged throughout both presentations and had lots of questions for both presenters.  Next Saturday 6 October, the trainees can expect two more interesting talks – a presentation on Gallery A of Muzium Negara by Lawrence Maille, vice president of MV and a talk on presentation skills by Stuart Wakefield, secretary of MV.

MV Training – 25 Sept 2012 (Batch 16)

by Rose Gan

Batch 16 is now well settled into its course, having just enjoyed our second session of training. It was another full programme with the usual information overload. By the time 12.30 came round we were all extremely hungry (does brain work burn so many calories?) and our heads were spinning! But it had been a fun and rewarding morning’s work.

First up were Asma and Marie-Christine, who introduced the Whole Brain Principle and gave us the results of our Whole Brain questionnaires. Thankfully we all have them (brains, that is!) but unfortunately none of them are complete. Everyone tends to favour one of four aspects: Facts, Form, Future, or Feelings.  This will, of course, impact the way in which we approach research, planning and presentation. To correct this imbalance, we have now put ourselves into groups based on the results, mixing the brain types. Would that perhaps be a re-working of the old adage: ‘4 brains are better than one?’ With any luck we may now be able to put our heads together with our new partners to be more effective learners!

Rose and Hayley then gave specimen 3 minute presentations: Rose showing how not to do it by overrunning the time (hey, I had quite a task summing up the Bugis AND The Minangkabau in 3 minutes!) I promise to be more organized next time! Well done, Hayley, for being spot on 3 minutes with your interesting talk on gambier.

Our first main speaker was Encik Kamarul, the Director of Muzium Negara, who took us on a lively journey through the museums of Malaysia and the history of Muzium Negara. It was a thorough and enlightening talk. Thank you so much for giving so freely of your time – and even keeping the transport ministry officials waiting on our behalf!

The session was rounded off by Stuart with an in-depth study of the presentation skills we require for guiding. His talk was crammed with useful hints and very pertinent examples of the practical side of taking a tour, delivered in his usual charming, laid back style. There was so much that we needed to hear – thank you for preparing the notes and showing us how it’s done! By the way, I did notice that you broke one of your golden rules…’be interesting but not amusing’. Personally, I love your witty asides. It always makes it easier to learn when one is entertained as well as informed!

And now to do my homework reading….

MV Training 2012 Kicks Off

September saw the start of the 2012 MV new guide training.  A very big welcome to all our new trainees.  Batch 18, our Japanese Group, kick-started the training with 20 trainees on 12 September.

This was followed by Batch 16 which commenced training on Tuesday 18 September with 19 trainees and with another 8 expected next week.  This group consists of 8 different nationalities.  Although Malaysians make up the majority, there is a large contingent of French enthusiasts as well. We are also lucky to count among our new recruits experienced guides who previously volunteered at museums in Italy, Indonesia and Singapore.

The Tuesday Batch 16 had a very clear introduction of Gallery A by Laurence Maille, MV vice President.  Laurence gave an insightful overview of the archaeological dating system and the history of Malaysia with a focus on the storyline of Gallery A of Museum Negara which focuses on Prehistoric as well as Proto-historic Malaysia.

Puan Zanita Anuar giving a riveting talk on the history and structure of Muzium Negara and Jabatan Muzium Malaysia to Batch 17 on 22 September 2012.

Batch 17 commenced training on Saturday 22 September with 21 trainees. This group consists of Malaysians and 1 Polish national.  Batch 17 received a wonderful start with a welcome address and absorbing talk by Puan Zanita Anuar, Director of Museums Innovation on the history and structure of Muzium Negara and Jabatan Muzium Malaysia.

If you are a member of MV JMM and would like to refresh your knowledge, Laurence will be addressing the Saturday Batch 17 on October 6th.  Many other interesting talks have also been scheduled and the complete training schedule can be viewed on Yahoo Groups. All current guides are welcome to these sessions but, if you are coming, please do register your attendance with

Information Morning for 2011 Training Programme on May 24

Our 2011 Training Programme starts in September and will run through until December 2011. If you are interested in signing up, then email or come to one of our information morinings at the Muzium Negara on Tuesday May 24 10-12noon

Tuesday September 6 10-12noon

Saturday September 10 10-12 noon

Places are limited so early applications are encouraged

Training at the Muzium Negara (National Museum) is on Tuesdays and Saturdays in English and on Wednesdays in Japanese.

Training at the Muzium Tekstil (Textiles Museum) is on Thursday in English.

In order to qualify for the MV training programme, you must have an interest in Malaysia, history and museums and undertake to serve as a volunteer guide once you have graduated from the training programme. In general terms, you will need to guide at the museum once a month. As the MV is a volunteer organization, you will also be encouraged to get involved in research, the schools programme and in the creation of pamphlets and booklets for use in the museums. There is no restriction on the nationality or gender of applicants. The courses are delivered in English and Japanese. There is also a French language group that organizes tours and talks in French

Muzium Negara – Guide Volunteers Training Programme Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Training Objective ? To provide Guide Volunteers with a broad understanding of the fascinating and complex Malaysian culture and history that can be used when undertaking guided tours of Muzium Negara.

How Is The Training Objective Achieved ? By exploring topics relating to the rich heritage and religions of the peoples of Malaysia and S.E. Asia based upon artefacts exhibited in Muzium Negara.

When Is The Training Carried Out ? Two parallel thirteen week training programmes are provided on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and Guide Volunteers can choose which day they wish to attend.

Where Is The Training Carried Out ? Guide Volunteers meet at Muzium Negara, Jalan Damansara in one of the Meeting Rooms and in the Museum.

What Is The Training Commitment ? All Guide Volunteers must commit themselves as follows :

* to attend the full training programme

* to read the background training material

* to deliver presentations to fellow Guide Volunteers in the Museum without the use of notes: – 3 minutes – one Muzium artefact – 7 minutes – two Muzium artefact – 15 minutes – one Muzium Gallery

* to provide a formal paper upon each of the three presentations

* to attend three guided tours of Muzium Negara prior to graduation

* to be prepared to provide positive and meaningful guided tours of Muzium Negara

Who Provides The Training ? Guide Volunteers, Muzium Negara Staff plus outside experts with specialist knowledge present topics relating to the Training Objective.

What Happens After The Training Has Been Successfully Completed ? After successful completion of the training, Guide Volunteers are invited to attend a Graduation Ceremony with their families where they receive their Graduation Certificate.

What Tasks Do Volunteer Guides Undertake ? Guide Volunteers are involved in one or more of the following areas :

§ Guiding – presenting free scheduled tours plus on-demand tours of Muzium Negara: guiding special exhibitions, presentations and visits.

§ Schools Programme – organising special tours of Muzium Negara for school children plus presentations about Malaysian culture in schools.

§ Research -locating and organising material to help fellow Guide and School Program Volunteers; helping with material for the publication of booklets for the general public and for children; helping with the translation service and providing information for Special Exhibitions.

§ Operations & IT – supporting general administration requirements; administering the MVM / MCG Library; maintaining ‘mvmqueries’ e-mail; by maintaining the MVM Website.

§ Communication – assisting with the production of the MVM Newsletter, MVM Press Releases and media events.

Where Can I Find Out More Information ? All queries should be forwarded to: Or come to our information morning

Dates for MV introduction coffee morning

We have fixed the dates for our “Introduction to MV” coffee mornings for this year. These explain the MV to potential trainees, and are useful for recruitment to our MV training programme, which will start in the second half of September 2011

MV Introduction Mornings -MV Room, Muzium Negara
Tuesday 24 May 2011 at 10am
Thursday 8 September 2011 at 10am
Saturday 10 September 2011 at 10am

For more details please click on the Training Programme Tag at the top of this page

2010-2011 training programmes now underway at National Museum and Textiles Museum

The Museum Volunteer Training Programmes for 2010 are all now underway. We have 50 volunteers training at the Muzium Negara (National Museum) and the Muzium Tekstil (Textile Museum). If you are interested in joining this programme for next year, September 2011, please click on the tag above labelled “MV Training”

Coffee Morning for New Recruits 16 June 10am

Coffee Morning Wednesday 16 June 10am MVM Room, National Museums Department

The 2010-2011 Docent Training Programme is now open for applications and will be starting in September, with weekday and weekend sessions both running. If you know anyone who is interested in joining, please tell them about the coffee morning on 16 June when MVM volunteers will be on hand to explain the training programme and what it entails.

2009 Training Programme Starts

The MVM’s seventh training programme has just kicked off.

The Tuesday group has had its first meeting and has 16 new recruits from Malaysia, Britain, France, Denmark, Uruguay, and the U.S.

The Saturday group will have its first meeting on Saturday 26th September.

The programme is aimed at  the intellectually curious. It is based at Muzium Negara, near to KL  Sentral Station, and runs once a year. It is a great chance to learn about Malaysia’s rich and complex heritage,  its history, ceramics, textiles, weaponry and traditional costumes.   And of course make great friends in an inspiring atmosphere.

There are still a few places left if you would like to join in. Please email for more details, or look at this press release below:


The MVM invites you to come and learn about Malaysia’s rich and complex heritage, its history, ceramics, textiles, weaponry and traditional costumes. And of course make great friends in an inspiring atmosphere.

Museum Volunteers Malaysia (MVM) is calling for applications to join its seventh training programme. The programme is aimed at the intellectually curious. It is based at Muzium Negara, near to KL Sentral Station, and runs once a year. The upcoming seventh session will start in September and there will be a choice of weekday or weekend classes for the 13-session course.

“If you are fluent in English, interested in Malaysia’s heritage, and can commit to becoming a volunteer guide, you are the kind of person we are looking for,” says Angela Naylor, co-ordinator of Training Programmes for the MVM.

Those who complete the training will become Docents, or Voluntary Guides, at the Muzium Negra. They will have garnered much knowledge on the artefacts and pieces on display at the Muzium Negara and will have learnt how to talk about them in an interesting and informative manner.

More than 100 volunteers have already graduated from the MVM training programme. They come from Malaysia, France, Britain, Australia, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Lithuania, Germany, Spain and India. On average, guides have one to two duties a month. But there are plenty of other activities, in the school programme and in research, for those who interested in developing their skills further.

“This is a fantastic course for the intellectually curious. Where else can you find enthusiastic people interested in shipwrecks or lost cities or Iban textiles,” says Zahara Shahriman, MVM Vice President.

The cost of materials for the MVM Training Programme will be RM150 for the weekday course and RM100 for the weekend course. The weekday course starts on  Tuesday 15th September and the weekend course on Saturday 26th September.

MVM provides free tours of Muzium Negara in English, Japanese, Malay, French and Chinese. They also provide programmes for school children and are developing booklets and self-guided trails for the museum.

If you are interested in joining the MVM training programme, please look at our weblog at or email

Batch 7 Training Starts 17 January

MVM Logo
MVM Logo


Museum Volunteers Malaysia is calling for applicants to join its seventh training programme. The training programme will start on January 17, 2009 and will consist of 13 sessions over three months. It will cover Malaysia’s rich and complex heritage, its history, ceramics, textiles, jewelry and traditional costumes.

“If you are fluent in English, interested in Malaysia’s heritage, and can commit to following the course on Saturday mornings between 9 and 12, you are the kind of person we are looking for,” says Diane Banz-Derez, coordinator of the Saturday Guiding Programmes for MVM.

For more information, click on the black PRESS tag above, or contact Diane Banz-Derez on

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