“Understanding the Past to Stare upon the Future”, is what’s written at the entrance of the Goedang Ransoem Museum; a reminder that history may teach you the best lessons to face the challenges of the future.
Standing at Jalan Abdul Rahman Hakim Street, Air Dingin area, in the town of Sawahlunto, in the province of West Sumatra, the Goedang Ransoem Museum is a legacy of the golden age of coal mining in West Sumatra. Literally translated as the Museum of the “Provision Warehouse”, the museum once played an important role in the supply and logistics of food for mine workers during Dutch Colonial times.
WH de Greeve, a Dutch Geologist who discovered coal in Sawahlunto in 1868 estimated that there was over 200 million tons of coal buried beneath the surface of Sawahlunto. This was what eventually drove the Dutch Colonial government to invest over 5.5 million guilders to build settlements and mining facilities, as well as import mining equipment from Germany. Subsequently, a railroad track was laid from Sawahlunto to Teluk Bayur (known at the time as Emma Haven) in Padang to transport the coal.
With a collection of over 150 items and more than 250 photographs, the museum will take visitors back to the days when Sawahlunto was bustling with mining activities.
The facility was built in 1881 and served as the central kitchen to provide food for mine workers. It has two huge warehouses and a steam generator. At the time, this central kitchen employed approximately 100 employees and on a daily basis cooked about 3, 900 Kilograms of rice with other complementary menus. Not only for the mine workers, the central kitchen also supplied food for families of mine workers family as well as hospital patients. With the enormous amount of food that needed to be produced, the kitchen used special huge cooking equipment which can be seen in the museum today.
The standard lunch and dinner menu for the time usually consisted of rice, meat, salted fish, salted eggs, and various vegetables. For breakfast, they usually served the traditional Lapek-lapek, which is made from red sticky rice, coconut, and brown sugar, wrapped in banana leaf. Replica of some of the menus can be seen today in the museum.
The kitchen used a steam system and was connected to the steam generator using big pipes underneath the kitchen which heated about 20 stoves. The steam was generated from boiled water from huge water boilers.
Later, the warehouse was used by Indonesian Independence Arm Forces as their provision center during the Japan occupation in the World War II and the 2nd Dutch Military Aggression.
After Indonesia declared Independence, the facility was used by the Ombilin Coal Mine Company as part of the mining complex, Ombilin Junior High School (1960-1970), workers compound (until 1980), and also as public settlement until 2004. In 2005, the entire complex was established as a conservation area under the management of the city of Sawahlunto. On 17th December 2005, the Goedang Ransoem Museum was officially opened by Indonesia’s Vice President at the time, Jusuf Kalla.
The Museum has also been used as venue for the Sawahlunto International Music Festival (SIMFest) which brought together international ethnic musicians from 5 continents.
The Museum is open to the public Tuesdays to Fridays from 07.30-16.30 West Indonesia Time, and Saturday and Sunday from 09.00 to 16.00 West Indonesia Time.
Goedang Ransoem Museum
Jl. Abdul Rahman Hakim, Sawahlunto, Sumatera Barat
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