Bandung seats Indonesia’s
Text and photography by Linda Rawin
Historical Postal Museum
April 1st 2009
Indonesia’s Postal Museum was first opened to the public in 1931 and has since been located in an old colonial Dutch looking building along with the current official PT. Pos Indonesia Central Office in Bandung, Indonesia. The Museum showcases historical artifacts of postal deliveries, valuable local and overseas stamp collections, telegraphs and the people behind it in Indonesia during the Dutch Indies period.
The museum’s building was built during the period of the Dutch Indies on July 27 1920, over a 706 meter square land by Architect Ir. J. Berger and Leutdsgebouwdienst, depicting Italian architecture from the renaissance. The original name of this museum was PTT Museum. PTT stood for Post, Telephone and Telegraph. The museum currently serves as an educational and information bureau preserving the cultural history of Indonesia’s postal entrepreneurship of its humble beginnings.
The museum was left to ruins after the break out of World War II and during the Indonesian’s independent revolution. In order to save the detoriating Museum and its valuable collections, it has been noted that on 18 December 1980, the board of Directors for the public Post and Giro formed a preparatory committee to foresee the renovation and development of the Museum and to collect philatelic materials and postal equipments of earlier postal practice.
The museum was officially opened on September 27th 1982 by the President Director Moeljoto and inaugurated by the Minister of Tourism Achmad Tahir on September 1983, commemorating Post and Telecommunications Day.
The Museum collections
Since 1983, the Indonesia Post Museum has retrieved collections of sample stamps and philately used by the postal services since the period of the Dutch Indies, books and photographs are among other historical artifacts and is grouped into four rooms; The introduction room, the historical collections, philately collections and equipment collections.
The Historical collections will bring you down memory lane of the relationship between the British and Indonesia epoch through her fine compilation of ‘Golden Letters’ which pays tribute to the rich varieties writing styles, seals and types of decorated paper use of Indonesia’s Kings and dignitaries to British rulers of more than four centuries.
The historical room which is at the basement is the most interesting segment of the museum. This is because it not only showcases valuable stamps but the existence of people that ran Indonesia’s postal services. The basement looks old and is dusty. When we viewed it on February 3rd 2009, the place showed signs of neglect and the CCTV cameras do not look like it is functioning. Valuable stamps can easily be stolen or not documented considering Indonesia’s history of missing artifacts.
In the historical section, a corner is kept to show photographs Mas Soeharto and his family. His rattan chair, an antique radio and wall clock is also displayed. These things were left at his office when Mas Soeharto the first Head Chief of the first PTT from September 1945 till January 1949. He and his family were abducted allegedly by Dutch secret agents and has never been heard of ever since. Up till today, his abduction has been unsolved. A brass statute of him sculptured in 1983 by renowned artist AD. Pirous, can be seen on the first floor of the introduction room filled with collections of old postal antique stationeries and paraphernalia.
In the basement of the historical room, portrait photographs of the past; Indonesian and Dutchmen Directors and Heads of the postal PTT Indonesia during the Dutch period like L.P Van Leeuwen, I.J. Milborn, G.J. CA Pop, E.W. L Van Faber, Mas Soeharto, R. Dijar, R. Soekardan amongst others are kept in glass cabinets cherishing their very existence.
Photograph copy of the first stamp of the world known as the Black Penny issued by England on May 6th 1840 is displayed.
A copy of a sketched photograph of England’s Sir Rowland Hill hangs on a cream color wall. Sir Rowland Hill, according to historians, reformed the old postal cash on delivery and distance system by introducing the modern postal services. He proposed the uniform postal rates through the use of adhesive stamps sold at the post office based on the weight of a letter and proposed a penny for each half-ounce.
The museum had mannequins over painted village backdrops depicting the rural scenes of how the mail was delivered. Everyone in the village knew gathered when the postman on a Suzuki motorbike would appear. Verbal news and gossips were also exchanged and spread this way from village to village.
Prior to the arrival of the motorbike delivery, postman would walk to deliver the mail.
Olden day letter box
Frames of valuable stamp collections from all over the world to and from Indonesia. Also in the collections are Indonesian stamps composed by periodical publications during the period of the Dutch Indies and Japanese occupation and war time independence.
In the Introductory room displayed replicated photographs of the earlier transportation used by postmen or dispatchers on horse or horse-drawn wagons, cycles, cars. Original Paraphernalia used during the early days which includes weighing scales, stamp pads and designs of logos are kept in separated glass cabinets. Basically, the museum managed to capture the history of its past postal system. The collection of artifacts, old stamps and photographs are educational and interesting. The museum conveys to the public the rich cultural heritage of PTT Indonesia.
The Museum Pos Indonesia is located on Jl. Cilaki No. 73 Bandung – 40115, West Java, Indonesia. Admission is free and visiting hours is from 9am up to 4pm.
The telecommunication is 62+ 22- 4206195.