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A Historic 126 Year Old Museum May Be Destroyed By Termites

A Historic 126 Year Old Museum May Be Destroyed By Termites

The worst place for a termite infestation to occur would have to be in a museum; especially a museum that contains hundreds of thousands of priceless artifacts and is one hundred and twenty six years old. Not long ago officials with the Sarawak Museum in Malaysia discovered a termite infestation within the popular east Asian museum. After a thorough inspection, museum officials announced that the museum would be closed to the public for a period of two years in order to eradicate the widespread termite infestation. If the termite eradication program goes as planned the museum will reopen sometime during the year of 2020. The cost of refurbishing the museum will cost thirty eight million in Malaysian currency.

In 1891, the second White Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Brooke, started construction on what would one day become Malaysia’s oldest and most treasured museum. Brooke decided to construct the museum after the famous natural scientist, Alfred Russel Wallace, convinced him that a new museum would be perfect for housing some interesting specimens that Wallace had been collecting from the Malay Archipelago at the time. Today the museum holds two hundred thousand different archeological, artistic, sociological and historical objects in its collection. Some of these objects include animals that had been subjected to primitive forms of taxidermy and human skulls. The museum holds some of the oldest human remains in existence. Primitive human artwork can also be viewed by museum visitors.

Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg announced that both the museum’s structure and many of the items on display within the museum have been ravaged by termites. Simply relocating the vast number of artifacts to a safe location could take an entire year. The termite infestation has already visibly damaged the Victorian style structure. The museum is popular among natives and tourists as four hundred thousand to six hundred thousand people visit the Sarawak Museum every year. It is likely that the museum will reopen sometime in 2020 if the termite presence can be eradicated within the planned timespan. Although admission to the museum has always been free, this may change once the museum reopens. The new admission price may be necessary in order to pay-off the extensive repairs caused by termites.

Given the presence of destructive termite species in Malaysia, do you think that future termite infestations can be prevented in the reopened museum?