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Update on National Museum Fire Recovery Efforts

817 Collections at the National Museum Affected by Fire
817 Collections at the National Museum Affected by Fire. Image Source:

The Acting Head of Museums and Cultural Heritage (MCB), Ahmad Mahendra, has stated that the fire at the National Museum, also known as the Museum Gajah, impacted hundreds of collections.

“In total, the museum has preserved approximately 141,000 objects, ranging from prehistoric artefacts to archaeology, numismatics, ceramics, ethnography, history, and geography collections,” he said on Tuesday, 19th September 2023. Among them, 817 collections were located and displayed in the six affected rooms. These comprise items crafted from bronze, ceramics, terracotta, and wood, as well as miniature and replica collections of prehistoric objects.

According to him, the process of evacuating collections and historical artefacts from Building A of the National Museum of Indonesia proceeded smoothly. Nearly 100 individuals, deployed by the MNI (Indonesian National Museum) team in collaboration with the National Police’s Forensic Laboratory Centre, successfully preserved many valuable artefacts.

Following the fire, an investigation team was assembled.

“We initiated the process of evacuating collections from the affected area to temporary storage rooms with police assistance. An inventory is underway to ensure accurate documentation and the necessary care during this recovery period.

“Some items remain undamaged or intact, while others suffered varying degrees of damage,” said Mahendra.

Furthermore, the evacuation process involved a team of specialised experts for debris removal under the supervision and guidance of the collection evacuation team. This allowed them to observe and take appropriate action concerning historical collections and burnt building materials.

“The fire originated from behind Building A of the National Museum of Indonesia. It’s important to clarify that the fire did not start inside the building. However, its impact affected several rooms at the rear of Building A,” he added.

Previously, a fire was reported at the National Museum. The Central Jakarta Fire Handling and Rescue Sub-Department dispatched eight vehicles and 32 personnel to extinguish the flames.

Based on preliminary reports, the National Museum fire occurred on Saturday evening at 8 pm WIB, local Jakarta time, when authorities received the news.

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