The Sun Yat-sen Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

The Sun Yat-sen Museum

Nanjing City, Jiangsu, China

The Sun Yat-sen Museum near Nanjing tells the story of the Republic of China’s first leader.

Peta Stamper

22 Apr 2021

About The Sun Yat-sen Museum

The Sun Yat-sen Museum in George Town, Penang in Malaysia, chronicles the life of its namesake. Sun Yat-sen (1866 –1925) became the first president of post-Imperial China after leading the republican movement which overthrew the Qing Dynasty.

The Sun Yat-sen Museum houses a collection of his personal belongings together with pictures and photographs of the man himself. Visiting the Purple Mountains usually takes a whole day as there are several worthwhile sites in the area including the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen.

The Sun Yat-sen Museum history

Sun Yat-sen first brought his family to Penang in 1910. At this time, the building housed the reading club, Penang Philomatic Union – a cover for Sun’s political opposition party, the Nanyang Tongmenhui. Built as a residential townhouse in 1880, the museum’s former location was a typical example of a British Straits Settlements merchant home, unusually long at over 40 metres. The house featured a small courtyard garden with beautiful floor tiles.

On 14 November 1920, Sun Yat-sen chaired an emergency meeting of the Nanyang Tongmenghui in the house, launching a campaign to fundraise for a Second Guangzhou Uprising. The building was also the site where Sun Yat-sen delivered a speech at the 1910 Penang Conference, raising 8000 straits dollars on the spot from the supportive Chinese population of the city.

In 1926 ownership of the house passed to a Hokkian merchant, Ch’ng Teong Swee, staying in his family until the present day. The museum dedicated to Sun Yat-sen was launched in 2001 by Malaysia’s Prime Minister and was visited by the former President of the People’s Republic of China, Hu Juntao, in 2002. In 2007, the Chinese international film, ‘Road to Dawn’, was filmed at the site, reenacting the emergency meeting.

From 2010, the museum house was extensively renovated in time for the international centennial commemoration of the 1910 Penang Conference.

The Sun Yat-sen Museum today

Today you can visit the quaint timber house, its interior characterised by large wooden beams and a preserved kitchen that includes the original firewood stove and cooking utensils. The small museum provides plenty of information in English, supported by photographs and artefacts alongside the original furnishings.

From the museum, you can join the Sun Yat-sen Heritage Trail, linking over 12 sites associated with the revolutionary leader and his supporters. The trail was developed by the Penang Heritage Trust in 2010 – the first of its kind.

Getting to The Sun Yat-sen Museum

An easy way of getting about the busy streets of Penang is via public transport. The closest bus stop is Kampung Kolam on the 12, 301, 302, 303 and 401 routes. The stop is just outside the museum, which is located on the historical Armenian Street.

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