In 2002, President Hu Jintao visited the Sun Yat Sen Penang Base at 120 Armenian Street and acknowledged the important role of Sun Yat Sen’s Penang Conference in the China Revolution of 1911. In front of the Malaysian and China delegation, he personally thanked the owners of the Sun Yat Sen Penang Base for conserving an important part of China’s history.
The Sun Yat Sen Penang Base is a private museum and cultural tourist attraction located in the Core Zone of the George Town World Heritage Site. It has a historical gallery which presents the story of Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s revolutionary years.
As the leader of the China Revolution, Dr. Sun Yat Sen raised support from the Overseas Chinese all over the world, including Malaysia. When China became the first Republic in Asia in 1911, Dr. Sun Yat Sen became the first Provisional President and the “Father of Modern China”.
In 1910, when Dr. Sun Yat Sen lived in Penang with his family for over 4 months, his Tongmenghui party operated under cover of the Penang Philomatic Union at 120 Armenian Street. Dr. Sun gave his famous speech here to raise funds for the Huanghuagang Uprising (also known as the Canton Uprising or Second Guangzhou Uprising) of 1911. He also founded the Kwong Wah Jit Poh at 120 Armenian Street; today it is the world’s oldest Chinese newspaper.
The Sun Yat Sen historical gallery was first opened by the Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamed in 2001. The following year, it was officially visited by China President Hu Jintao. Since then, the Sun Yat Sen Penang Base has attracted hundreds of international dignitaries, as well as tens of thousands of international tourists and schoolchildren. From December 2008, the museum has been open to visitors daily.
In 1992, a family committed itself to saving and preserving 120 Armenian Street, due to its cultural significance and its historical association with Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Apart from the historical gallery, the 130 year old house is presented as a traditional townhouse, displaying the heritage of the Oveseas Chinese / Baba Nyonya family who lived in this house after the Sun Yat Sen period. Today, it is one of the few townhouses in Penang which still maintains its authentic heritage interior. The furniture and original artifacts of this house date from 1900 to 1950s. The traditional kitchen with a firewood stove is also open to visitors.
The Sun Yat Sen Penang Base is located in core zone of World Heritage Site, near the famous Khoo Kongsi, in the Armenian Street multicultural enclave with mosques and temples within 3 minutes walk of each other. The preservation of 120 Armenian Street was a catalyst which led to the revitalization of Armenian Street.