08 March 2008

Museum Volunteers Malaysia Graduation Ceremony on 15 March

The newly-upgraded Muzium Negara will hold a special graduation ceremony on March 15 for its 49 new volunteer docents and several of its junior museum club members.

Mr. Ibrahim bin Ismail, Acting Director General, Department of Museums, will host the awards ceremony. The guest of honour will be Datin Seri Masnah Rais, wife of Datuk Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage.

There will also be craft demonstrations, and a chance to join one of the museum docents on a tour of the highlights of the museum.

"Our new group of Museum Volunteers will be providing free, enjoyable and informed tours of the galleries at Muzium Negara," said Marie-Christine Tseng, the founder of Museum Volunteers Malaysia (MVM). "We hope they will help to increase knowledge about the National Museum."

The MVM consists of volunteers from Malaysia, France, Britain, Australia, The Netherlands, Japan, Lithuania, Germany and New Zealand who have undergone a three-month training programme to become a Docent (or Museum guide.) The programme involved a weekly series of lectures from excellent speakers who covered Malaysia's rich and complex heritage, its history, ceramics, textiles, jewelry and traditional customs.

In particular, the Docents have garnered much knowledge on the artifacts and pieces on display in the museum, and how to talk about them in an interesting and informative manner."I wanted to learn more about my culture and heritage, which I had largely taken for granted," says Zahara Shariman, from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Zahara qualified in the first batch of Docents in 2007 and is now pioneering the children's programmes.

"Now I am learning lots and passing the knowledge on, particularly to children. The bonus is that it is fun."

"I love living in Malaysia, and now that I am learning in more depth about its culture and history, I am able to give something back and hopefully encourage more visits to the museum," says Lorien Holland, from London, England. Lorien will graduate in the 2008 batch.The first group of 21 Docents graduated from the MVM programme in 2007.

They have led tours in English and French in the Muzium Negara for the past year. They have also hosted more than 500 school children and started to develop booklets and self-guided trails for the museum.

The new group of 49 will enable the MVM to offer tours in Bahasa Malaysia and a number of other languages, including Dutch, German and Japanese.MVM is a non-profit, non-governmental, non-political and non-religious group whose aims are to promote public and government awareness of museums, and to encourage and promote an appreciation and understanding of the cultures of Malaysia. MVM is hosted by Muzium Negara, which supports and promotes MVM projects and activities.

MVM guided tours are available as follows:
In English Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 11 am
In French Thursday mornings (9-12am) at the main entrance desk
Guided tours in Japanese, Dutch, German, Malay, Danish, Russian and Polish are also available on request. Tailored tours can be arranged for Embassies, Companies and Schools. Please email mvmqueries@yahoo.com for further details.

MVM has three projects for its volunteers:
GUIDING – Volunteers will provide free tours at the museum.
SCHOOLS PROGRAM – Volunteers will organize special tours for school children at the museum and in schools.
RESEARCH – Volunteers will find and organize material to help the guides and school programme volunteers.

Anyone can apply to join the Docent programme. Classes for 2008 will run on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.

For further information, please contact:
Catherine Bossis mailto:Bossiscatherine.bossis@gmail.com 017 302 1799
Chrissy Lioe chrissy_lioe@hotmail.com 012 524 8365
Lorien Holland lorien.holland@koryogroup.com 012 303 0105

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