Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

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Tags : Museum

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Timings : Monday - Thursday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Last Admission: 4:15 or 5:15
Museum is closed for three days during the Chinese New Year

Entry Fees : Adult: RM 16
Child (5-12 years): RM 11

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Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum, Melaka Overview

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock is a complex of three restored houses showcasing the typical 19th-century Chinese-Malays (Baba-Nyonya) residence. The Chinese Palladian houses were converted into Peranakan Museum, now known for its exquisite woodwork, porcelain, and furniture. Guided tours are available.

Managed by the Chan Family, Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum was built by the great grandfather of the Chan family, Chan Kim Lay in 1896 for his upcoming generations to live in. The house consists of three terraces and all the portions are almost 20 feet in width and 180 feet long with an air well in the middle for proper air circulation.

The décor and artefacts along with the furniture provide a mesmerising experience. It was named ‘Baba Nyonya’ as ‘Baba’ is used to address the Straits-born gentleman and ‘Nyonya’ is for Straits-born lady in an honorific manner.

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How to Reach Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum

A taxi drive or a trishaw ride can be taken to reach the museum which is near the old district of UNESCO Heritage area in Melaka, parallel to the famous Jonker Walk. A taxi from Zoo Melaka to the museum will take about 20 minutes. One can also walk from the Menara Taming Sari area to reach the museum in about 15 minutes.

Design and Architecture

  • A total of three terraces constitute the house of the Chan family.
  • House No. 48 and 50 is the main homestead and no. 52 is for the servants.
  • The whole house-turned-museum is set in a lavish order with the interior décor showcasing the Dutch, Portuguese, Malay and Colonial influences.
  • There is lavish Blackwood furniture with extraordinary woodwork, pearl, marble, unique decor and 5 metres high silk embroidery of the Chinese era.
  • The stairs to the second floor have their own story to tell with woven gold-leaf carvings of South East Asia and solid cenggal wood.
  • There is Thia Besar; the Reception Hall where only men of the family were allowed and it is decorated with tall panels of Chinese silk embroidery and interesting stories of generals and scholars with Chinese tales, present in the patriarchal structure of the Chan household.
  • The next room is Dapur which is the Kitchen where ladies of the Chan family along with close relatives were allowed along with ‘Chung Po’, the chef making unique and traditional family food.
  • The next hall is known as Thia Abu, the Ancestral Hall to help the generations to not forget their roots and stay attached to their tradition, respecting and honouring the house and the traditions.
  • The family still observes the role of the museum as an ancestral home by conducting prayers seven times a year on the death and birth dates of their ancestors and also the Chinese New Year, gathering together, preparing traditional dishes and carrying on the legacy.

Exhibits at Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

The museum exhibits the original layout of the actual ancestral home of the Chan family with luxurious items showcasing cultures of various countries in the Peranakan household like the mosaic and oil lamp from UK, Chinese porcelain, fine art products, unique costumes, antique furniture, woodwork, Peranakan tchotchkes in glass cases along with kitchen items like hand churner. There is an array of beautiful exhibits inside the museum and a guide is available to explain the importance and story behind each one.

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, Melaka
Inside the Baba Nyonya Museum (Source)

Guided Tour

A tour of the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum can be booked online for a better and informative experience. If there is a group of 15 or more people, the booking should be made a month in advance with Chinese tours and an activity tour provided in case of special ones. For the group of fewer people, a self-guided book or audio tour can be bought or a guided tour can be taken too.

Cost: RM 4 per person

Need to Know

  • It is better to go before 12:00 AM and get the guided tour before the lunch break.
  • After lunch, there is mostly a huge crowd that comes by like school and other tourist groups.
  • Photography is not allowed inside the museum.

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