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Significance Workshop Held for Museums from Yogyakarta, Semarang & Surakarta

As part of the AIM Project, an online workshop on the significance museum approach was held from 30 September-01 October 2021. The workshop involved twenty-four (24) participants from eleven (11) museums across the wider Yogyakarta-Semarang-Surakarta area. The online workshop was hosted by the Radya Pustaka Museum, the second oldest museum in Indonesia


Dr Steven Cooke, Associate Professor of Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Deakin University, Hafnidar, Director of the Aceh Tsunami Museum, and Andrew Henderson, SEAMS, presented the training material. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia supported the preparation and implementation of the event. The workshop topics included new approaches to museology, including decolonisation and transnationalism, as well as an overview of the significance approach with case studies from Indonesia and Australia.


The workshop also included a group work component where participants applied the significance method directly to six (six) objects from the Radya Pustaka Museum collection. Each group completed the significance assessments and made a number of recommendations relating to the preservation and interpretation of the objects. These objects included:

  1. Kyai Rajamala figurehead. Kyai Rajamala is the name of a canthik (figurehead) of a royal boat which is made of teak wood. The ornament is carved in the form of a giant head taken from the puppet character, Raden Rajamala. As part of the significance assessment, the museum participants explored the spiritual significance of the object and the practice of placing ‘sesajen’ or offerings at the object.

  2. Gambir Anom & Rama Wijaya headdresses. The headdresses are part of the costumes for the Gambir Anom dance that were used by Go Tik Swan (1931-2008). Go Tik Swan, commonly known as K.R.T., is an Indonesian humanist, writer and artist who lived in Surakarta. As part of this significance assessment, the participants explored an oral history with Go Tik Swan’s family to learn more about the provenance of the collection.

  3. The Laws of the Pakubuwana IV Manuscript. This manuscript was written in Surakarta, in the early-mid 19th century by R. Panji Prawirabaya. The manuscript totals 240 pages and contains a collection of laws, prophecies and regulations, most of which were issued from the palace of ISKS Pakubuwana IV (1788 -1820). The participants in this group explored the historic significance of the manuscript and the impact it has had on the culture of Solo that continues to this day.

  4. Wayang Dupara collection. Wayang Dupara is a unique collection and different to other Wayang stories found in Java which usually follow the Ramyanan. The Wayang Dapura tells the history of Javanese kingdoms from the Hindu Buddhist era to the Javanese Islamic period. The participants analyzed the context of the collection including political elements and messages which responded to colonialism and the Java War.

  5. Ronggowarsito Statue. The Ronggowarsito statue is in front of the Radya Pustaka Museum. The statue was inaugurated by President Soekarno in 1953. The participants examined the connection between the statue and the manuscripts held in the Radya Pustaka collection, including a number of works by Ronggowarsito. The social significance of the statue was also explored as a popular icon of the city of Solo.

  6. Prasasti Mantiyasih. Prasasti Mantiyasih is written in old Javanese script. Before the significance assessment little was known about the object. This group was able to establish the object came from Magelang, Central Java. Important work as done on the provenance, which information found that the collection had previously been split in half, with some parts of the prasasti going to the Batavia Society collection (now the National Museum of Indonesia.



The AIM Project is made possible through grant funding from the Australia-Indonesia Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia. #aimproject#australia#indonesia#museumworkshops