Bandung offers a 'Night at the Museum'
The Jakarta Post
The fossilized skeleton of a Blora elephant estimated to have lived some 200,000 ' 250,000 years ago stands majestically in the lobby of the Museum of Geology in Bandung, West Java, greeting all visitors to the building.
An impressive 4 meters tall, 5 meters long and weighing between 6 and 8 tons, it is twice as big as the elephants still in existence today across Asia.
'It would be more attractive if it was made to look as if it was alive,' visitor Lilies, 39, of Cigadung, Bandung, commented on the fossil on display at the museum, which occupies a building dating back to 1928.
The mother-of-two, who was visiting the museum together with her family at the weekend, said the fossil found in Blora regency, Central Java, in 2009 was indeed stunning.
Particularly so at night, when the purple and red spotlights alternately beam onto the fossil.
The management of the museum, which normally opens from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., is staging a so-called 'Night at the Museum' promotion from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
'It is initially being opened to commemorate the mining and energy [ministry] anniversary. In the future we'll offer the Night at the Museum on the first weekend of every month for free,' Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry secretary general Teguh Pamuji said at the opening of the program on Sunday.
The management hopes the program will be able to change the public's perception of museums from shabby old places to interesting tourist destinations rich in inspiration and insight.
Apart from displaying various collections of rocks, minerals and fossils, the museum is also offering interactive facilities such as an earthquake simulator placed on the second floor of the building in the 'geological disaster and advantage' room.
In the same room visitors can also learn about human civilization that makes use of minerals and rocks ranging from a drinking jar made of clay to a cell phone and electronic tablets using silica, germanium, gallium, arsenide and aluminum.
The museum was originally known as the Geologisch Laboratorium and was designed by architect Menalda van Schouwenburg. It was officially opened to coincide with the fourth Pacific Science Congress, which was held in Bandung from May 18-24, 1929.
Awang Harun Satyana of the Association of Indonesian Geologists expressed his appreciation of the night activities held at the museum, saying that it could attract children and ordinary people to learn more about the geological richness of Indonesia.
Awang said he was especially interested in the Indonesian geological room, which presented a screening of a film describing the process of the formation of the earth. It also provides interactive props on Indonesian rocks and minerals.
The Museum of Geology is located on Jl. Diponegoro, Bandung. Some 1,000 to 1,500 visitors visit the museum daily.
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