The Directorate General of the Ministry of Culture and Education has proposed that the Government of East Java province builds a science and technology museum in Trowulan, the site of Majapahit Kingdom in Mojokerto district.
The Trowulan area has been of great value as an important reminder of the long historical and cultural journey that resulted in the birth of the Indonesian civilization.
Its no wonder then that East Java Governor Soekarwo stated in Surabaya, on Monday that the presence of a science and technology museum, in addition to Trowulan museum, will become a center for information for the younger generation.
"Besides this, the museum will also make the Trowulan area a global tourist destination," the governor pointed out, adding that it will also be a learning facility for the young generation to learn about the greatness of the Majapahit kingdom and be proud of the nations culture.
Results of extensive research and excavations have shown that Trowulan was the location of the capital city of Majapahit Kingdom for more than 200 years, from the 13th to the 15th century.
Across the Trowulan area, hundreds of thousands of archeological discoveries have been made underground, as well as on the surface, in the form of artifacts, bones, and other items, which are now kept in the Trowulan Museum as the legacy of the Majapahit Kingdom.
In an effort to balance the development of cultural areas in East Java, Governor Soekarwo stated that the local government will also renovate the sacred places of Walisongo, Batu Ampar and Talangu Madura to attract as many domestic and foreign tourists as possible.
The governor noted that the Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Education, Prof. Kacung Marijan, has proposed the construction of the science and technology museum.
Marijan added that a museum was necessary because it will arouse the curiosity of the younger generation as well as tourists and help them study the culture of the nation with respect to its past, the present and the future.
According to him, the museum will make Trowulan an icon of culture in East Java Province.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will lay the cornerstone for the museum somewhere around mid-2014 as part of the restoration of the Majapahit site.
The president and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono had paid a visit to Trowulan early January this year as part of their visit to East Java, since, according to them, the site will help preserve the cultural heritage of Indonesia.
"It is a source of inspiration to us all. In the 14th century, the Majapahit Empire had reached its peak of glory with conquests and victories across Southeast Asia. Hence, in the 21st century, Indonesia should seek inspiration in order to forge ahead," the President had stated then.
Furthermore, he had ordered the local government to monitor the development of the museum so that it continues to be an invaluable heritage for the nation and helps to improve the welfare of the people living nearby.
According to a museum worker, Mita, the Trowulan Museum, which covers an area of 5.4 hectares, was established in 1924 to house various artifacts and archaeological evidence from the past, found around Trowulan.
The museum was founded by Henri Maclaine Pont, a Dutch architect as well as an archaeologist, along with assistance from the regent of Mojokerto Kanjeng (Duke) Ario Kromodjojo Adinegoro.
Governor Soekarwo pointed out that President Yudhoyono had spent 90 minutes during his visit to the Majaphit Kingdom and cultural heritage site in Trowulan.
"The original plan for the president was to spend about 45 minutes, but he asked for an additional 45 minutes to tour the Trowulan archaeological site," Governor Soekarwo added.
He pointed out that President Yudhoyono wished to spend more time at Trowulan to gain firsthand information about the remains of the Majapahit Kingdom.
Soekarwo explained that it was important for the President to visit the Trowulan site because of the "Save Mojopahit" petition by the Indonesian Heritage Trust (BPPI), which has become an issue of international importance.
The petition was issued in an attempt to save the Trowulan area, to make it a cultural heritage conservation site, and also to revoke a permit issued to the steel company PT Manunggal Sentral Baja to build a steel mill in the vicinity of Trowulan, once the ancient capital of the Majapahit Kingdom.
Governor Soekarwo noted that the local government will press ahead with its move to revoke the permit, since at least three organizations have pledged their support to the petition.
"We hope that the Presidents visit to Trowulan will set pace the momentum to begin preservation activities of this historic site," the governor stated.
Through extensive research and excavation work over a long period of time, hundreds of thousands of artifacts from the Majapahit Kingdom era have been recovered.
But, unfortunately, many invaluable relics have been vandalized.
For example, many statues from the Majapahit era at Semen village in Kediri district, East Java, are damaged and are in need of repair and preservation. (Antara)