One of my favorite activities to do when people visit is to take them to Kota, also known as Old Town. Since my in-laws were in town I thought I would take them to the city center to see the beautiful remnants of art-deco architecture still standing in Kota and take them to a museum or two. Part of the tour always includes a lunch-break at Cafe Batavia and hopefully a few photo-ops with the gorgeous bicycle-laden esplanade that houses a few museums and historical buildings.
Jakarta’s folklore emanates from within the kampungs and fills the vivid streets of the City Center. On the way to Kota we caught a glimpse of all the food carts getting ready for the lunch break to make their business thrive.
As we approached our destination, my in-laws were stopped by a group of students who wanted to interview them about their perception of Indonesia thus far. Both the students and my family left the interview with a smile on their face.
We finally arrived at the puppet museum. I had been there before and was glad to be there again. After paying a very small fee of 5,000 Rp. per person we were given a guide of the Museum and ventured in.
Indonesia’s rich culture and heritage is impeccably portrayed in one of its oldest and most renowned folk arts, the art of puppet making. The diversity in resources and customs throughout the archipelago is not only evidenced in the materials used for the puppets but also the way the puppets are showcased and used.
The first floor includes several depictions of Wooden Puppets and shadow puppets. Looking at the Wayang Golek (wooden puppets) reminded me of the time we visited Pak Dase the puppet maker in Bogor and made me appreciate even further the work that goes into each intricate detail.
On the first floor there is a small garden where antique dutch inscriptions decorate the walls. They also have a nice sitting area for those in need of a break.
The section with the Wayang Kulit (shadow puppets) was particularly enjoyable for me. I didn’t realize that the puppets had colors since they are depicted only as a shadow during a show. The shadow puppets can be made out of leather of paper.
The second story includes puppets and dolls from all over the world. The Indonesian puppets are specially interesting because they emerge from the different islands. Different materials such as hay and batik fabric are used and many different works methods are evident in the details.
The international puppet collection, although modest in size, is very interesting. It includes puppets mainly from Europe and Asia. It was very insightful to compare the workmanship of the Indonesian to the foreign ones and I can attest that the Indonesians are far from behind in quality and creativity.
We truly relished visiting the Puppet Museum. It gave us a small glimpse of Indonesian culture as a whole and it was a very entertaining way to learn more about the archipelago. I would recommend it to anyone with little kids but be aware that some of the faces might be a bit scary for them.
- Don’t come on a Monday. The Puppet Museum, like the National and Textile Museums are closed on Mondays. They close their doors at 3:00 pm so make sure you come before that.
- Bathrooms are available but I would recommend you bring tissues or something similar since toilet paper is not always available.
- On Sundays they have a puppet show at 10:00 am. I have been meaning to check it out for a while! It looks like fun!
- If you have a stroller with you, you will have to use the ramp that is used for descending to go up. Just let the people at the acceuil know and they will let you go up that way.
- Be aware that it is very very hot at Kota since there isn’t any shade. Be prepared for that.
- There is a small souvenir shop at the exit. The prices are quite reasonable.
Jln. Pintu Besar Utara No. 27