Work on the project, which commenced in 2015, is scheduled for completion in March next year.
However, even though Phase One of the Sarawak Museum campus will be ready next March, it will take at least another one and half years to put up all the artifacts in the exhibition hall.
“That means the museum will only be open to the public in September or October 2020,” Suria said, adding that Phase Two of the project would also be completed at about the same time.
He told New Sarawak Tribune yesterday that the progress of the project was on schedule.
The new building would have five floors with the ground floor allocated for cafeteria, children’s gallery (1st floor), and exhibition area (2nd, 3rd and 4th floors), he disclosed.
“The exhibition area, covering a total space of 6,000 sq metres, will include sections for ethnography, archaeology and archive,” he said, adding that more artifacts would be on display compared with the previous building.
Suria also pointed out that the new museum building would be the second largest in South East Asia after the Singapore National Museum.
Asked if the new museum would have a new name, he replied: “That one, we don’t know. Wait for the authority to make the announcement, if there is any,” he added.
Suria said Sarawak Museum campus was just the name of the project.
“We want to make this museum the centre of research as we have a vast collection of artifacts in archaeology, zoology and ethnography, and we want students from around the world to do their research here.
“We have a significant Borneo artifact collection. Our vision is to be a global centre of Borneo Heritage by 2030,” Suria added.
The design of the new Sarawak Museum Campus building, he explained, was in line with the design of Sarawak State Legislative Assembly complex.
“It is of world-class. So as an icon, it is a must for tourists to visit in the future. Hopefully, in the future, the museum will also become an attraction for tourists in Sarawak,” he added.
On the old museum building, Suria said it would be renovated, conserved and upgraded.
“Built in 1891, it will not be pulled down as it is a heritage,” he said.
He said the renovation, conservation and upgrading work which came under Phase Two of the Sarawak Museum campus project, would commence sometime next month.