Museum Bali, Introduction
Museum Bali is one of the Technical Executing Units of the Bali Cultural Office of which functions are to collect, research, conserve, and exhibit the cultural objects for the purposes of education, study and recreation.
It is located at the center of Denpasar city, exactly on Mayor Wisnu Street, on the Jagatnatha Temple, stretching out from north to south approximately 140 meters with its entrance gate faces to the west or to Mayor Wisnu Street that is closed for the public transportation except for the museum visitors.
Based on its collections, Museum Bali is one of the provincial general museums in Indonesia. It Houses and exhibits cultural components of Bali, which can be classified into collections of: history, archaeology, ethnography and fine arts.
Since it was opened, Museum Bali is always visited by many local and foreign tourists, students, artists and common people as well who want to have a research, to get some inspiration and also for a recreation. According to our regulation, visitors are to pay for entrance tickets, and to write their names on the visitor’s book for statistic, and they are not allowed to touch, and to sit on the collections, nor to smoke and to bring any big goods in the exhibition rooms.
The defeat of the Klungkung Kingdom by the Dutch troop on April 28, 1908, indicated that the whole Bali was under the Dutch colonial government. This of course brought about some changes to Bali among other things that it became more opened to the European especially the Dutch. This openness made more foreigners came to Bali either for an excursion, doing business or working for the civil administrations. When they returned to their home countries, they always brought home various cultural objects for souvenir or only for private collection. This situation, if let as it was, would bring about a cultural heritage property to Bali, had made a number of the Dutch cultural observers try to prevent it and at once to conserve Balinese culture.
In 1910, Mr. W.F.J. Kroon an Assistant Resident for the South Bali, after having a lot of input from Th.A. Resink about how to preserve Balinese cultural objects from extinction, Kroon than sparked an idea to establish a museum.
His idea was supported by the scientists, artists and all kings of the regencies. Afterwards Kroon asked Curt Grundler (a German Architect) who was in Denpasar. Curt Grundler worked together with a few Balinese traditional architects called undagi from Denpasar i.e. I Gusti Ketut Rai and I Gusti Ketut Gede Kandel. They made a plan with a combined architectural concept of a Hindu temple (pura) and a king’s palace (puri) which was built on an area of 2.600 square meters. Basing the plan on the traditional architectural concepts as written on the lontar book of Hasta Kosala Kosali, the compound consists of three courtyards i.e.; outer, middle and inner courtyards, with two entrance gates ( Candi bentar and Candi Kurung ) and wooden bell tower ( Bale Kulkul).
At the north-west corner there is a Bale Bengong, a small and high pavilion which in the kingdom era was used as a resting place for the king’s family while witnessing the situation outside the palace. There is also a beji or bathing place of a royal family in front of Tabanan Building. The roofs of the buildings are made of sago palm fiber called ijuk which in Bali is only used for a temple building. So, the use of three courtyards indicates the characteristic of a temple, while the use of a bale bengong and a beji show the typicality of palace.
In the inner courtyard, there are buildings, each called Tabanan Building, Karangasem Building and Buleleng Building, which were used for collection exhibition rooms. The names of the building are taken from the Regencies who presented the buildings and at once are supposed to represent the architectural styles of the south, east, and north Bali respectively. Tabanan building which is given by Tabanan regency originally an open building and then modified in accordance with the museum’s need. After a very hard effort due to the monetary crisis of the Dutch government that time and also disturbed by a fierce earthquake in 1917 when mount Batur erupted, finally the constructions could be completed and the museum was officially opened to the public on December 8, 1932, with the name “Bali Museum”. At the first time the museum was managed by a foundation named “Yayasan Bali Museum”.
When Indonesia proclaimed her independence on August 17, 1945, Bali Museum was taken over by The Provincial Government of Bali. On January 5, 1965 the Bali Museum was then handed over to the Department of Education and Culture, the Republic of Indonesia, and the name of Bali Museum was changed into “ Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali” ( National Museum of Bali Province ).
Since 1969 the government had given more serious attention to the museum developments thought programs in the Five Year Development Plans (1969 – 1986). During that time, the area of Bali Museum was expanded southwards where a few more concrete buildings had been built for additional exhibition rooms, the museum’s library, conservation lab, auditorium, and office for administration staff as well. At first the area museum was 2600 square meters with three buildings, and now becomes 6000 square meters with nine buildings on it. Since the implementation of more autonomy to the local governments in Indonesia in the year of 2000, Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali was handed back to the Bali Provincial Government as one of the Technical Executing Units of Bali Cultural Office with the name MUSEUM BALI.