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Exploring the past to inspire the present

The Brooke Gallery tells the story of one of the most remarkable kingdoms in history: Sarawak and its Rajahs. 

 

In the 1830s Sarawak, a province of the once-mighty Sultanate of Brunei in north-west Borneo, was ravaged by piratical raiding and rebellion against Brunei rule. Inspired by stories of its natural wonders and diverse indigenous cultures, a bold English adventurer, James Brooke, arrived on its shores in his yacht, Royalist, in August 1839. He was to forge a unique bond with its peoples and together they built the foundations of today’s Sarawak. 

 

The displays focus on the people, places and events that have shaped the state. They take us on a journey through a century of the Brookes' rule that began in September 1841, was shattered by the Japanese invasion of December 1941 and ended in July 1946 with Sarawak’s annexation as a British Crown Colony. The subsequent move towards political independence culminated in Sarawak’s part in forming the Federation of Malaysia in September 1963. 

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This permanent exhibition at the Old Court House explores the extraordinary life, legend and legacy of Margaret de Windt who, aged 19, married the second Rajah of Sarawak and embraced a new life as queen of this remarkable kingdom.

Courageous, intelligent and full of energy, she used her unique position to advocate for change. A champion of women’s education at home and an ambassador when abroad, she was renowned for her relationship with the remarkable people she would come to see as her own. Sarawak provided her with creative inspiration, which she expressed through painting, music, literature and craft. Thanks to her appreciation of local skills, such as weaving songket and embroidering keringkam, the finest examples from her personal collection can now be shared. Inspiration may be drawn from these exquisite objects by the new generation of artisans who are keeping these traditions alive.

In the exhibition, we follow Margaret on a journey, during which she finds meaning, purpose and identity here in Sarawak, after they had eluded her everywhere else.

“This is a place for the community, inspired by the community and built with the community.” 

- Jason Brooke, Director of the Brooke Trust -

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Visiting Us

COME AND LEARN ABOUT SARAWAK IN THE TIME OF THE RAJAHS

We welcome individuals from home and abroad, tour groups, school groups, and all with an interest in exploring Sarawak's unique history.

Opening Hours

Monday - Sunday & Public Holidays:

9am - 4.45pm

Admission

Local: RM 10

Global: RM 20

Concession: RM 5

Children (under 7): Free

Explorer Pass (Both Museums)

Local: RM 15

Global: RM 30

Contact

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