I know one place here in Penang you’d be extremely happy to visit, C told me as we rested under the shade of a tree in Georgetown. The heat in Penang was extremely draining, and after walking around the historic quarters of the city, we took a quick soda break before continuing our tour. Where? I asked. She told me it’s a surprise and trotted off, asking me to follow. We took a turn at Lebuh Chulia and onto a narrow unnamed alley, a sign greeted us; The Camera Museum.
|BACK ENTRANCE OF THE CAMERA MUSEUM|
Indeed, I was brimming with excitement as we entered its darkened hallways and bought our tickets. I’ve never been to any museum catering to nothing but cameras and photography—the old stores at Quiapo’s Hidalgo Street, excluded, of course. To drive home the point, we saw a sign exclaiming that Penang’s Camera Museum is the first of its kind in South East Asia. That figures.
|ENTRANCE TO THE SECOND FLOOR DISPLAY SPACE|
|LOUNGE AREA AT THE GROUND FLOOR|
The museum opened in 2013 and is set on a renovated two-storey shophouse in Georgetown itself. The city is a proud advocate of adaptive reuse, utilizing old buildings into new uses. And this museum is a perfect example of such. Outside, the classic shophouse facade which Penang is known for is maintained, but inside, it’s all cameras!
|THE GROUND FLOOR OF PENANG’S CAMERA MUSEUM IS FREE OF CHARGE|
|DOUBLE EXPOSURE CAFE|
On the ground floor of the museum is their Double Exposure café, which serves mostly pastas, sandwiches, cakes and drinks. Along it is the Camera Museum gift shop. We saw really nice t-shirts, but it was quite expensive for us, so we simply settled for cute ref magnets—which was still not affordable at MYR15.00; it was just so cute though. It’s good to know that there’s no need to pay for the entrance fee if you’re just gonna stay at the ground floor.
|ONE OF THE HALLS DISPLAYING PHOTOGRAPHS|
The main museum itself is set on the second floor of the building and is divided into three areas; the Dark Room, Obscura Room and the Pinhole Room. These are further subdivided into exhibition halls, spy room collection, stereo and toy camera areas.
During our visit, we saw a limited selection of antiquated cameras on one of the exhibition halls, but I heard that they have since boosted their collection, acquiring more than a thousand vintage cameras for display. That is a lot of cameras, indeed.
|QUIRKY PHOTOGRAPHY QUOTES|
And the best thing about all these, more than ogling at the cameras, is that you’re allowed to take pictures too, something most museums prohibit. Heck, this is a museum for cameras and photography after all!
Penang Camera Museum
Address: Munti Street, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Entrance Fee: MYR20.00
Open Hours: 9:30AM to 6:30PM Daily
Guided Tours: Hourly from 10:00Am to 6:00PM
GPS Coordinates Map: 5.419708, 100.335671