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Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

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 Straits Chinese. 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).

colourful culture

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' not exaggerating to consider this small but comprehensive museum as the gateway of your discovery to the Baba Nyonya cultural establishments.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 – 12:30 & 14:00 – 16:30 Monday - Saturdays
  • Address: 48-50 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200.
  • Tel: (606) 283 1273