The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum is a private museum in the
Chinatown area of Melaka. The museum is housed in a classic
nineteenth century Chinese shop house, restored to the state it
was in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Like most
all of these long narrow buildings, the Baba Nyonya shop houses
are pierced by two courtyards which provide light and air
circulation. In a traditional Chinese shop house, business was
done in the front half of the lower floor, while the back half
and all the upper floor were living spaces. This Heritage Museum
is owned by a Chan family. During the old time, they were the
richest people in Melaka.
The tours in the museum are guided, so you get a lot of
information about every little detail of the lives of the old
The museum is located along the Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (neighbouring
to Jalan Hang Jebat/Jonker Street).
Baba's and Nyonya's are Chinese descendents who have adopted Malay culture.
They are also known as Straits-born Chinese or Peranakans, and practice both
Chinese and Malay customs. They are known for their unique furniture, dress
style, and food, a marriage of Chinese and Malay cuisine. The Straits Chinese or Peranakans are descendents of Chinese traders who
settled down along the Straits settlements (Penang, Melaka and Singapore) in
pre-independent Malaysia. Many of them began adopting and assimilating much
of the local Malay culture into theirs, and became known as Baba (men) and Nyonya (women).
Have a peek into their incredibly rich and colourful culture in the museum,
which is privately run by descendents of the family that once lived in the
building, built during the Dutch occupation.
Every room, piece of furniture (neo-classical European) and other
furnishings (Victorian era chandeliers and floor tiles) are exactly as the
original owners left them. At the heart of its charm is an archive of
costumes and knick-knacks that once served the Peranakan lifestyle. It's a little like stepping into a time warp and
taking a stroll through the family's intimate memories, and coming away with
a very realistic perspective of a bygone life. It’s not exaggerating to consider this small but comprehensive museum as the gateway of your discovery to the Baba Nyonya cultural establishments.
Daily opening hours
10.00 am - 12:30pm 14.00 am - 16:30pm Entrance fee RM 8.- (adults) and RM 4 (children aged 5 to 12) Information tel: +606 283 1273