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16 Best Museums in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I visited almost every museums in Jakarta this year (I'm only missing the TNI Satria Mandala Museum and the Galeri Nasional Indonesia). The idea of this review is to give you my recommendations on the best museums to visit and the ones to avoid. I also wrote individual articles for each with a full description, just click on the name of the venues to read it.

Contrary to what people might tell you, most are interesting and worth your time. They are a good introduction to Indonesian history and culture, and at the same time they give you an opportunity to explore authentic neighborhoods.

The entrance ticket for each museum is very cheap, usually between Rp2,000 and Rp20,000. You can refer to the opening and closing hours on each separate reviews. All museums are rather small and you'll often need only a couple hours to visit them.

English explanations are not always available. I don't think it's a big problem: Just take pictures and notes, then find out more on wikipedia from home. You can also visit the museums with a guide. The best tours are organized by the Indonesian Heritage Society. For more information: Jakarta Museum Tours.

Which Jakarta museums to visit in 1 day?
If you have only 1 day of sightseeing available, I would advise you to visit in priority the National Museum first and then head to Kota Tua (the Old City) where you'll find the Bank Indonesia Museum and the Jakarta History Museum. Both areas can easily be reached with the Transjakarta busway.

This is the ranking of the best museums in Jakarta, based on my visits:

Easily the best museum in Indonesia. It features quite a large collection of statues, masks and artefacts from all over the archipelago. A great introduction to the different cultures of the country. You'll need at least 3-4 hours inside to see everything properly.

I didn't have any expectations when visiting this museum, yet it turned out to be one of the most interesting I've been to. Don't be turned off by the word "bank". The museum is more about the history of trade in Indonesia, starting from before the colonization. It is just 100 meters from Taman Fatahillah.

This is the main museum on Taman Fatahillah square. It is housed in a beautiful colonial building that served as the City Hall of Batavia during Dutch times. As the name suggests, it is about the history of Jakarta, starting from prehistoric times. The visit is a bit short and hopefully they'll add more things to see in the future.

4) Museum of the Indonesian Constitution (at the Supreme Court)
Opened by President Jokowi in 2015, this is the newest and most modern museum in Jakarta. It is a nationalist museum, telling the story of how the Indonesian constitution was created. Still, you'll learn a lot about Indonesia's recent history. It makes you realize the profound gap between the hopes of the founders of the Nation and the harsh reality. You'll also get to see the Indonesian Supreme Court. Advanced reservation is required.

This museum is similar in its purpose with the Indonesian Constitution Museum. It focuses on the history of the birth of the Indonesian independence movement. It is located in the ex-STOVIA doctors' school and as such, you'll also find information about the early medicine in Indonesia.

The main art museum in Indonesia, with a collection of paintings from contemporary and older artists. Too many replicas unfortunately. It is part of the museums of Taman Fatahillah square.

Considering Indonesia has over 17,000 islands, the Museum Bahari (or Maritime Museum) could probably be improved. Currently, it feels it is in need of refurbishment. Still, I enjoyed my visit, which was a quick stop on my way to Sunda Kelapa, because of the location in an old Dutch warehouse and because I learned quite a few things about the history of Indonesia. The neighborhood was great too (fish market of Luar Batang) but the government evicted local residents recently and I haven't been there again since.

I did visit this museum but I haven't written a review about it yet. It is set in a beautiful property with a relaxing garden. There are some explanations on how Indonesian fabrics are made, particularly batiks. You can see a large collection of beautiful ones but it can be quite repetitive after a while. It is not too far from Central Jakarta, just after Tanah Abang Market.

This is a small museum with barely anything on display, yet it is worth a stop as the building is one of the nicest in Jakarta. It used to be the residence of the Governor General of the VOC.

The Museum Wayang is recommended by most tourist guides but I found it quite boring. There are almost no explanations in English and the place is not well-maintained. Not recommended unless you have a fascination for wayangs, puppets and masks.

The only positive thing about the Bank Mandiri Museum is its location, inside a Dutch colonial building. Apart from that, most of the things on displays are old ATMs, old typewriters, old computers, etc.

12) Museum Taman Prasasti
I still have to write this review as well. Anyway, this "museum" is actually an old Dutch graveyard and not a proper Museum, despite its name. It's not a bad place though and if you pass by, it won't hurt you to have a look.

Not visited yet:

Museum Galeri National Indonesia: This museum of art will be next on my list when I go back to Jakarta in September.

Musée Satriamandala: A military museum that belongs to the Indonesian TNI (Army). Apparently it's fun for kids.

A1 Museum: A private contemporary art museum.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN): As announced by the NY Times, the MACAN is set to open in 2017. It is owned by the billionnaire Haryanto Adikoesoemo and will feature its private collection of artworks. It can probably become the best museum in Jakarta then.

You can read my article: 10 Best Things To Do in Jakarta for more daytime activities in the city.

Museum Bank Indonesia (Jakarta)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I did not expect much from the Museum Bank Indonesia in North Jakarta, but after my visit I must say that it is one of the best things to do during the day in the city.

Inaugurated in 2009 in the former building of the De Javasche Bank, the ancestor of Bank Indonesia, it is a modern museum, clean and rather well-organized. The building itself is over a hundred year old and was designed by the famous Dutch architect Eduard Cuypers.

It presents a good introduction to the history of the economic development of Indonesia, from early spice merchants until today. It is also interesting to understand better the Dutch colonization.

The last section of the museum focuses on money with hundreds of currencies from all over the world on display. Kids might enjoy this part a little bit more.
This clock was offered by the Dutch Central Bank to celebrate the 100 years of De Javasche Bank
How to go there:
The Museum is located in the Old Town (Kota Tua), near Taman Fatahillah and opposite the Kota train station. If you come from South Jakarta, it can be faster to use the busway line 1 running from Blok M to Kota. Be careful as the Bank Indonesia itself is in a different building on Jalan Thamrin.

Duration of visit:
The visit lasts about 2 hours.

Opening Hours Museum Bank Indonesia:
From Tuesday to Thursday from 8am to 3h30pm.
Friday from 8am to 3h30pm (closed from 11h35am to 1pm for prayer)
Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 4pm
Closed on Monday and Public Holidays.

Entrance ticket:
Rp 5,000

English explanations:
75% of the displays.

Contact details:
Museum Bank Indonesia
Jalan Pintu Besar Utara No. 3
North Jakarta - Indonesia

Phone number: +62 21 2600 158 
Fax number: +62 21 260 1730 

Email: museum@bi.go.id

Surabaya also has a Bank Indonesia Museum that opened in January 2012.

Social medias
Website: Museum BI

Weddings, Receptions, Events
It is actually possible to rent the Museum Bank Indonesia for private parties, in particular for weddings. To do so, you can contact them directly through their Heritage website.

Museum of National Awakening (STOVIA School) Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
The Museum of National Awakening in Jakarta (Museum Kebangkitan Nasional) is not a very well known thing to do in Jakarta, but it is worth visiting.

STOVIA Building

It is located in the building of the STOVIA (School Tot Opleiding Van Inlandsche Arsten) or School for the Training of Local Doctors. The school and the building were created at the beginning of the 20th century by the Dutch, part of their "Ethical Policy" which consisted in improving the welfare of colonial subjects.

The STOVIA is famous in Indonesian history because it is the birthplace of Budi Utomo, the first Indonesian political movement. The day of its creation, May 20th 1908 is officially commemorated every year in the country.

The school changed location to Salemba in the 1920s and the building served different purposes until it was transformed into a museum by Suharto in 1974.

The story of the building is very helpful in understanding life in Indonesia during colonial times. It is also interesting to see how the Dutch themselves contributed to the Independence movement.
STOVIA dormitory
The classrooms have been recreated with statues
For Jakarta standards, the content of the Museum and the explanations are interesting but be aware that only half the displays are translated in English. You have some great old pictures of Jakarta, some dioramas showing the daily life of the students, and some old artifacts.

A section of the Museum is more modern and focus on the beginning of modern medicine in Indonesia.
The garden is very peaceful and it costs only 5,000rp to get in. If you stay near Senen, it is a pleasant place to walk around, especially with kids.
Overall: The Museum of National Awakening (STOVIA) is among my favourites in Jakarta along with the Museum Nasional and the Museum Bank Indonesia. If you have been living in Jakarta for a while and you are interested in the history of Indonesia, you will probably enjoy it also.

Museum of National Awakening (STOVIA Building)
Museum Kebangkitan Nasional 
Jalan Dr. Abdul Rahman Saleh No. 26 (Walking distance from Senen Atrium)
Central Jakarta 10410

Phone number: +62 (0) 3483 0033 or +62 (0) 21 384 7975
Fax: +62 (0) 21 3847975
Email: muskitnas@museumkebangkitannasional.go.id

Opening/Visiting Hours:
From Tuesday to Friday from 8.30am to 3pm
Weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 8am to 2pm
Closed on Monday and on Public Holidays

Facebook: Museum STOVIA
Website: Museum Kebangkitan Nasional

Entrance Ticket:
5,000rp

Jakarta Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics (Kota)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
The Jakarta Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics (Museum Seni Rupa dan Keramik in Indonesian) is located on Taman Fatahillah Square in North Jakarta. It is one of the 5 museums in the area with the Bank Indonesia Museum, the Bank Mandiri Museum, the Jakarta History Museum and the Wayang Museum.

It is located in a building that served as the Court of Justice of Batavia during colonial times from 1870 until the Second World War. It then became a museum in 1976.

If you are interested with Indonesian art, this is probably the best place to see original and replicas of famous painters such as Raden Saleh or Affendi. I also enjoyed those:
Dede Eri Supria - Urbanisasi 1977
Itji Tarmizi - Kerja Paksa
The Ceramic section of the museum is less interesting, unless you are a specialist.
Overall, if you have a busy schedule, you can probably skip the visit. If not, you should enjoy spending 1or 2 hours in this museum.

Jakarta Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics
Jalan Taman Fatahillah Square 2
North Jakarta (MRT Station: Kota)

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 6907062

Open every day from 8am to 3pm

Entrance Fee: Rp5,000 for adults and Rp2,000 for kids.

One thing you may notice at the museum is that there are trash cans everywhere, each with different sizes and shapes: