The Museum Pusaka Nias is the only museum on Nias Island and it has a large collection of objects related to Nias culture and history. The exhibition featuring the highlights of the collection is housed in four large pavilions. The exhibition is open to the public daily and offers an in-depth introduction to the indigenous culture and history of Nias Island. The displays includes jewellery worn by nobles, weapons, crocodile-hide battle armour, traditional fishing and hunting equipment to headhunting paraphernalia, wood carvings used in ancestor worship, ceremonial drums, coffins with dragon heads, and beautiful scale models of traditional houses.
To understand the history, meaning and function of each exhibit there are interpretational signs in Indonesian and English. Many large artefacts such as megalith stones and authentic traditional houses from different areas of Nias can be found in the gardens surrounding the exhibition buildings.
Since its opening in 1995 the Museum has been the center of the cultural and artistic community of Nias. As the only exhibition of Nias cultural and historical collections, the Museum has become an icon and a reference for visitors who are interested to learn about the island 's rich culture . The Museum is recognized as one of the best in Indonesia and in 2014 the founder received an award for “best conservationist of cultural heritage” from the Indonesian ministry of culture.
Learn more about how the collection was acquired and how it is maintained here
PAVILION I – Glory of the past
This room showcases a variety of artefacts depicting the majesty of Nias culture. The objects in this room were used by the highest levels of society; warriors, priests and Chieftains. This includes jewellery and weapons, ceremonial drums, pre-christian religious objects and an impressive scale models of a chiefs house in South Nias.
PAVILION II – Traditional Feasts & Celebrations
Life on Nias were characterized by traditional feasts (Owasa) held in order to increase the status of a person. This room presents artifacts used during Owasa feasts and other celebrations. Objects range from various types of jewelry and banquet equipment, clothing and sedan chairs used during processions. There is also objects related to death and artifacts used in ancient religious rites .
PAVILION III – Daily life
Like other people, Niasans also performed a variety of routine activities. Artefacts from the daily life of Nias people can be seen in this room , ranging from shelter and housing, tools for hunting and carpentry, household items, worship, headhunting and traditional musical instruments, some of them unique to Nias Island.
PAVILION IV – Temporary Exhibitions
This room houses short term exhibitions that are changed on a regular basis. Past exhibitions have included;
- Photographic exhibitions featuring historical photographs from Nias.
- History of Catholic missionaries on Nias.
- Rehabilitation of traditional houses after the 2005 earthquake.
- ‘Bolo Nafo’ hand bags used to present traditional gifts of betel nuts for important guests.
The temporary exhibitions room is also used for lectures, audio-visual presentations and cultural education for visitors.
Nias is famous for its megalithic stone culture. Important events in the life of Nias people were often immortalized in stone. Megalith stones can tell the current generation about the past of their ancestors. The Megalith room is an open space in the middle of the exhibitions pavilions which has been covered to display a selection of stones sculptures and tables.
The staff working at the exhibition has a lot of knowledge about Nias culture and the artefacts on display. English speaking guides are available. For groups and private guided tours or special visits contact the Museum for arrangements.
Mon – Fri: 08.00 to 17:00
Sat: 08:00 to 16:00
Sun: 12:30 to 17:30
Adult: 5000 Rp
Child: 2000 Rp
Stone sculpture resembling a mythical animal combining the deer and dragon head (lasara)
Wood carving of Ancestral Mother "Sarambia" and her children
Necklace worn by Nias Warriors made from coconut shells
Metal vest worn by South Nias warriors
Toho: Si sara Ndrami ba Bulusa
Spears with different shapes for hunting and war fighting
Shield with unique shape used by Nias Warriors
A "Tolögo" sword with magical amulets worn by Nias Noblemen
Statue of ancestor used in ancestor worship
Jewelry box made from weaved fibers
Burial coffin with "Lasara" head from South Nias
Dear shaped seat for noble men, used during “owasa” feasts.
Wooden comb with ornaments
Weighing scales used for gold
Stone sculpture with human features