Museum Bali, also known as the Museum of the Technical Implementation Unit of the Bali Cultural Office, is a national museum situated in Denpasar, Bali. It serves as a repository for historical and ethnographic artifacts, showcasing a diverse collection that reflects Bali's past cultural and societal development. The museum's exhibits feature a wide range of ethnographic objects, including tools, household items, artwork, religious artifacts, written materials, and more.
The establishment of Museum Bali was initially proposed by architect W.F.J. Kroon in 1910, during his tenure as the Assistant Resident of South Bali. The construction of the main building, Gedung Arca, began in the same year with the support of local kings from Buleleng, Tabanan, Badung, and Karangasem. Over time, the museum's collection expanded under the leadership of W.F. Sttuterhim, the head of the archaeological department, who focused on acquiring ethnographic artifacts.
In 1932, a foundation was formed to oversee the museum's management and development. The foundation, chaired by H.R. Ha'ak and consisting of prominent individuals such as G.J. Grader, G.M. Hendrikss, R. Goris, I Gusti Ngurah Alit (King of Badung), I Gusti Bagus Negara, and Walter Spies, played a vital role in the museum's operations. On December 8, 1932, the Museum Bali was officially opened to the public, with permanent exhibitions held in the Tabanan, Karangasem, and Buleleng Buildings, featuring prehistoric, historical, and ethnographic artifacts, including fine art.
During its history, the museum underwent several administrative changes. It was taken over by the provincial government of Bali, but due to the challenging circumstances surrounding the war, it was later transferred to the central government under the Ministry of Education and Culture in 1965. The museum then became known as the Provincial State Museum of Bali. Subsequently, in 2000, with the implementation of regional autonomy, the museum was once again transferred back to the Provincial Government of Bali and became one of the Technical Implementation Units of the Bali Cultural Office, known as the Museum Bali UPTD.
The museum's architecture features the distinctive style of Denpasar's royal palaces, with elaborate exterior walls, a courtyard, and an impressive entrance gate. Within the museum complex, there are four pavilions representing different regencies in Bali. The Tabanan Pavilion, located in the northern section, showcases collections of dance equipment, including costumes, masks, shadow puppets (wayang kulit), and traditional Balinese daggers (keris) used in the Calonarang dance, as well as ancient statues. The Museum Bali UPTD also houses collections in various fields, such as biology, ethnography, archaeology, history, numismatics, philology, ceramics, and fine art.
The central pavilion, the Buleleng Pavilion, is designed in the style of temples found in North Bali and displays Bali's traditional clothing collection, including the iconic Balinese fan.
The last pavilion, the Badung Pavilion, is located near the main entrance, close to the towering bale kulkul (traditional instrument for summoning villagers), and houses various prehistoric collections. In this pavilion, you can see tools used by humans during hunting and farming periods, cultivation periods, and the metal period. The upper floor of this pavilion displays Balinese fine art collections. The Museum Bali is a great place to learn more about Bali.
The Museum Bali is located in a strategic location in the center of Denpasar city, specifically on Mayor Wisnu Street. To the south of the museum is Pura Jagatnatha, while the Puputan Badung Square and the Four-Faced Statue (Catur Muka Statue) are located in front of the Museum Bali. If you are using motorized transportation, it takes approximately 45 minutes to travel the approximately 13 km distance from Ngurah Rai Airport to the Museum Bali.