Background

The Sun Yat Sen Museum (formerly the Sun Yat Sen Penang Base) is a small family-owned museum. The house has been in the same family since 1926. The house was bought over from relatives in 1992 and gradually restored. Rather than selling it off or renting it out for modern commercial or office use, we have kept the building’s interior and contents intact and opened to the public to share its fascinating history. Though the house was initially open only by appointment, and then only a few hours on certain days of the week, it is now open eight hours a day, seven days a week.

The Museum is part of a row of shophouses along Armenian Street in George Town’s Core Heritage Zone, built in the late nineteenth-century in what architects call the “Straits Eclectic” style, combining Chinese design with Malay and European influences. It is a fine example of a Penang shophouse, with an intimate courtyard garden, a handsome timber staircase and an old-fashioned Nyonya kitchen. In 1926, the shophouse was bought by a Chinese merchant Ch’ng Teong Swee. His grand-daughter, Khoo Salma Nasution maintains the shophouse today. At the moment, only the ground floor is open to visitors.

120 Armenian St also serves as the official address and bookstore for local Penang publisher Areca Books, and the Lestari Heritage Network.

People behind the Museum

Khoo Salma is the custodian of the Sun Yat Sen Museum and has been involved in the progressive restoration of the house since 1992. She gives a special tour on the architecture, conservation and peranakan lifestyle embodied by the house museum. She is a director of the publishing company Areca Books and the heritage consultancy Lestari Heritage Network. She is currently president of the Penang Heritage Trust.

Goh Mai Loon is the Malaysian producer of Road To Dawn (2007) and a specialist on film locations in Penang. She is the Sun Yat Sen Penang Base representative to the annual Joint Conference of Sun Yat Sen and Soong Ching Ling Memorials. She spearheaded the annual youth cultural exchange between Sun Yat Sen Penang Base and the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, Beijing.

Lim Gaik Siang is the honorary conservation consultant for the restoration works on Sun Yat Sen Penang Base. She is the director and main researcher of the Penang Sun Yat Sen Heritage Trail project developed by the Penang Heritage Trust. She is also the Honorary Treasurer of the Penang Heritage Trust.

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