The Sangiran Museum, which will display fossils of early humans, ancient animals and other relics, is expected to be open to the public in 2014.
The museum, currently being constructed in Sangiran, Sragen, Central Java, will be an information center for prehistoric human civilizations and will meet international standards.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the site on Thursday, accompanied by 11 of his Cabinet ministers and Central Java Governor Bibit Waluyo.
“As a study center to learn more about our world in past civilizations and about human evolution, this museum is incredible,” the President told reporters.
He also expressed optimism that the museum would encourage tourists to come to the region, which could then help to stimulate the local economy.
The site, dubbed the “Homeland of the Java Man”, will house more than 100 pieces of fossils from prehistoric human beings that are predicted to have been alive between 1.5 million and 400,000 years ago. The fossils could represent more than 50 percent of the world’s Homo erectus species. Other artifacts — some 1.5 million-years-old — on display will include chopper axes, splitting axes, hand axes and blades.
The Sangiran Museum site covers some 1.6 hectares of plot on a barren field. The site, acknowledged by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to be a world heritage site in 1996, is designed to have four clusters of centers named Krikilan, Ngebung, Bukuran and Dayu.
“Of the four, Krikilan has been finished as a visitor center and is considered to be the most important cluster,” Museum head Harry Widianto said, adding that it would also be the center for prehistoric human beings in Indonesia and provide explanations about the Homeland of the Java Man.
Ngebung will document the history of the Sangiran site’s discovery, Bukuran will detail the discovery of prehistoric human fossils and Dayu will contain information on the latest research.
The Krikilan cluster was launched by the education and culture minister in December. The Dayu cluster is scheduled to be completed this year, while the Bukuran and Ngebung clusters are due to be built by 2013.
“By mid-2014, the grand opening of the museum can be done,” he said.