The Bandung Geology museum is the biggest and most complete museum in Indonesia of its kind. Unlike other museums that seem to be gathering more dust than visitors, it is a well kept place that attracts large number of visitors.
Opened as early as 1929 as a geological center, by again, the Dutch, the museum is located in a very spacious colonial building on Jalan Diponegoro.
Since August 2006 the entrance is free of charge, all the more reason for a visit. The museum is divided into three exhibitions, Geology of Indonesia in the West wing, History of life in the East wing and Geology for human life on the top floor.
The museum has a large collection of fossils, of which about 6000 are on display and the other 250.000 are kept in a safe. The research department is still very much active and next to documentation, and exhibition, geologists specialising in fosils, stones, minerals and volcanoes reside in the top floor.
The most interesting part is the West wing, where the evolution of human life is explained in both Bahasa Indonesia as English, with colourful posters and ‘lo and behold', a very nice collection of life size dinosaur replicas, intermingled with some real fosils of giant land turtles, hippo's and other creatures you wouldn't want to run into today. In the far corner a selection of skulls can be found, amongst which a replica of the popular ‘Java man'.
Another very educational and interesting part is the volcano section in the East wing, with explanations on formation and working of these in Indonesia abundant gunung api, literally: ‘fire mountains'.
The museum is very popular amongst school classes, which might not guarantee the usually preferred tomb like atmosphere you will find in other museums. Unfortunately only the West wing about the evolution of human life has English explanations, but there are some English and French speaking guides available, and for intricate questions the resident geologists will be happy to discuss matters indepth.
All in all the Museum Geologi is a very informative institution, that makes for a responsible educational day trip for young and old, and is a nice alternative to the shopping malls or factory outlets.