Visiting an ancient city like Yogyakarta wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the museum. There are many museums in this city. Below are those of the more popular ones.
1. Museum Benteng Yogyakarta
This museum was built in 1765 by the Dutch government for defence purposes. Formerly it was more known as Fort Vredeburg. The total size of the Museum is 2,100 m2. The beautiful old fortress and the location of the museum which is at the very centre of the city makes it a must-see option. It houses dioramas that depict Indonesia’s independence war, historical artifacts, photos, paintings, etc.
Historically, the museum has had different functions. Between 1760 – 1830, it served as a Dutch defence fortress, between 1830 -1945 it became Dutch military headquarters, followed by Japanese military headquarters; and between 1945 – 1977 it was turned into Indonesian military headquarters.
But on 16 April 1985, the museum was turned into a museum which was open for public. And on 23 November 1992, the name of the museum was changed into Museum Benteng Yogyakarta.
2. Museum Sonobudoyo
Museum Sonobudoyo is one of the most frequented museums in Yogyakarta. Its location near Kraton Yogyakarta and the North Square in the centre of the city makes it all the more accessible.
The Museum collects and preserves objects and artifacts of many categories. Library services and cultural education are offered by this museum. Research in certain topics is also conducted by the museum.
Opened in 1935, the Museum exhibits wayangs and masks, weapons, batiks, carvings, toys, and others.
3. Museum Keraton Yogyakarta
An interesting place to look into the old days of royal families is the Museum Keraton Yogyakarta. It is located at the compound of the Keraton Palace of Yogyakarta, which is in central Jogja at the south of Malioboro street. This is one of the most popular museums that the city has to offer.
The museum was established during the reign of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VII and Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII. In an area measuring 14,000 m2, the museum houses many kinds of collections, including household stuff, weapons, gamelan music instruments, old manuscripts, photographs and paintings, as well as horse carts. The collections were made from various materials such as paper, bronze, teak wood, iron and leather.
4. Museum Ullen Sentalu
Museum Ullen Sentalu is a private museum built by Yayasan Ulating Blencong. Ullen Sentalu museum stores collections of a Javanese royal family from the Mataram kingdom period. The façade is like a cave entrance, but the inside is a blend of European Gothic and Javanese architecture. This museum exhibits Javanese culture and arts, poetries, handwritten letters, gamelan instruments, batik cloths, etc. Being on the mountain of Merapi in the north side of Jogja, the museum makes the visit a tranquil and cool one, which is great for reminiscing the past. The ambience of the whole building exudes serenity. Visitors will be led in groups by a guide. The museum consists of several rooms, such as Welcome Room, gamelan room, paintings room, and an outdoor museum. It takes less than an hour to get there from Yogyakarta.
5. Monumen Jogja Kembali
Monumen Jogja Kembali (Monjali) in Sleman, Yogyakarta was built to honour Indonesian freedom fighters who had fought to regain Jogja. On the wall were engraved the names of 420 heroes who died in the war occuring between 19 December 1948 - 29 June 1949. The lotus-like monument is surrounded by ponds and it can be entered from four entrances, east, west, north and south. At the gates there are replicas of planes that had been used during the fights. Here the palanquin of Gen. Sudirman is exhibited, too, which had to be used to carry him because he was ill at that time while leading the Indonesian guerillas. He was the most notable figure during this period in Indonesian history.
6. UGM Museums
The main UGM Museum is situated at UGM compound at Bulaksumur D6 and D7. It was inaugurated on 19 December 2013. The building was the residence of the step-uncle of US President, Barack Obama, who often spent his school holidays in this building when he lived in Indonesia from 1967-1971. The museum exhibits pictures of UGM history, founding fathers, achievements and developments, student activities, and so on.
Another museum of UGM is the Biology Museum. This museum was formerly two different museums, which were zoologicum museum (led by Prof. Drg. RG. Indroyono) and herbarium museum (led by Prof. Ir. Moeso Soeryowinoto), which was joined together.
Faculty of Biology UGM eventually renovated the museum and opened it for the general public on 1 January 1970. It harbours scientific platforms for the city of Yogyakarta and its surroundings.
This museum display dioramas depicting classified animals. Artifacts of various carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores are also exhibited in the museum which lies on Jl. Sultan Agung at the south part of the city.